In Maryland, it is illegal to use a handheld phone while operating a vehicle. However, the law does not prevent many motorists from writing a text, responding to an email, taking pictures, or surfing the internet while driving the streets of Baltimore County. This conduct and other types of distracted driving put many on and around the roadway, such as other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, at higher risk of an injury-causing car accident. If you have sustained injuries as a result of someone texting, talking, or getting social while driving, talk to an experienced auto accident attorney about your rights to compensation.
Statistics on Distracted Driving
Figures gathered from Maryland and across the US show how dangerous various forms of distracted driving are:
- A driver traveling at a speed of 55 mph has his or her eyes off the road for an average of five seconds when reading a text or creating a message. This is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field while blindfolded, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
- In Maryland, male drivers comprised 53% of all injuries and 78% of all fatalities in distracted driving collisions between 2007 and 2011. Plus, 11% of all drivers under 20 years old who were involved in deadly crashes admitted to being distracted at the time of the incident.
- In 2015, 3,477 people died nationwide in car accidents involving distracted drivers, which figure represents an increase from 3,154 in the year 2013 and 3,179 in 2014.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
The statistics are alarming, but there are logistical reasons why distracted driving leads to so many accidents. Cell phone use is an internal distraction based upon circumstances within the car, as opposed to an external distraction that may be present upon the road, sidewalk, or shoulder. Distracted driving impacts different capabilities of the driver, such as:
- Visual: When the motorist’s eyes are on something other than the road and surrounding conditions, such as the display of a phone, he or she is less able to react to a situation or obstacle.
- Manual: Texting, taking a picture, making a call, or going online are all activities that require a driver to manipulate a device, which means taking the hands off the steering wheel or vehicle systems.
- Cognitive: A cognitive distraction occurs if the driver is thinking about topic not related to operating the car, such as the contents of a text message, a phone conversation, or social media post. The operator’s mind is not fully focused on driving and road conditions.
Maryland’s law against cell phone use has not deterred every motorist from engaging in risky behavior, so distracted drivers will continue to be a threat to others on the road. If you are injured as a result of this type of negligence, you do have a right to recover for your losses, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced auto accident attorney can assist you through the process, including filing a claim with an insurance company or in court. For more information on distracted driving crashes, please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to discuss your situation.
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