Personal Injury Lawyer Silver Spring, MD

Maryland State Police Crack Down on Distracted Driving During Awareness Month

Close-up of young woman sitting inside car, typing a text message on a mobile phone.

Distracted driving may seem harmless, but even a momentary lapse in attention can result in a car accident with devastating consequences. From checking smartphones to adjusting navigation systems, distractions behind the wheel have become alarmingly common among drivers in Maryland, posing serious risks to everyone on the road. As Maryland State Police intensify their efforts to address this issue during Distracted Driving Awareness Month, it's crucial to recognize the importance of staying focused while driving.

Understanding your legal rights is also essential in the event of a distracted driving accident. If you've been injured due to someone else's negligence behind the wheel, a car accident lawyer from Goldberg Finnegan can help you navigate the legal process and pursue the maximum compensation you deserve. Don't hesitate to seek legal guidance to protect your rights and hold responsible parties accountable for their actions.

What is the definition of distracted driving?

Distracted driving involves any activity that shifts a driver's attention away from the critical task of operating a vehicle, increasing the likelihood of accidents and injury. It is typically classified into three distinct types:

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions entail diverting the driver's eyes away from the road. Examples include glancing at a roadside billboard or advertisement, attending to passengers in the rear seats, or observing activities outside the vehicle, such as an accident or construction site.

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions involve removing one or both hands from the steering wheel. Examples include consuming food or beverages while driving, adjusting the radio, music playlist, or climate controls, and operating a GPS device or navigation system.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions occupy the driver's thoughts, diminishing focus on driving. Examples include daydreaming or mentally wandering off, worrying about work-related tasks or personal issues, and engaging in intense conversations or arguments with passengers.

Texting while driving is considered the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it combines all three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. This trifecta of distractions severely impairs a driver's ability to respond promptly to changing road conditions, making it one of the primary contributors to distracted driving accidents. Such accidents can result in severe injuries, fatalities, and significant property damage.

Maryland distracted driving statistics

Distracted driving is a growing concern nationwide and affects road users in Maryland. The following state-specific statistics only emphasize the need for efforts to combat distracted driving:

  • More than 24,000 people are injured every year in Maryland due to distracted driving.
  • Over 200 people die every year in Maryland due to distracted driving.
  • Distracted driving contributes to 48 percent of all traffic accidents statewide.

Maryland State Police enforcement

According to the Maryland State Police, 4,352 citations and warnings were issued for distracted driving violations in just the first three months of last year. In the year prior, 21,757 citations were handed out, and around a fifth of those drivers were caught with their cell phones in hand, which is against the law in Maryland.

If caught driving with a phone in hand, offenders can face fines depending on the offense.

  • First offense: Maximum fine of $83
  • Second offense: Maximum fine of $140
  • Third offense: Maximum fine of $160

Tips for avoiding distracted driving

Here are some practical tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for avoiding distractions behind the wheel:

  • Prioritize Driving Focus: Dedicate your full attention to driving, refraining from multitasking activities such as adjusting mirrors, selecting music, eating, making phone calls, or reading texts/emails while operating the vehicle. Accomplish these tasks before you get behind the wheel or after reaching your destination.
  • Utilize Distracted Driving Apps: Explore the availability of smartphone applications specifically designed to minimize cell phone usage while driving. Consider integrating one of these apps into your device to limit distractions and enhance your focus on the road.
  • Speak Up: As a passenger, if you notice the driver becoming distracted or engaging in activities that divert their attention from driving, don't hesitate to speak up. Politely address the issue and encourage the driver to prioritize safe driving practices.
  • Assist the Driver: Actively contribute to reducing distractions for the driver by offering assistance with navigation or other tasks. Take on responsibilities such as managing GPS directions or adjusting climate controls to alleviate the driver's cognitive load and enhance their focus on the road.

Contact a lawyer if you were hit and injured by a distracted driver

Proving negligence in a claim involving a distracted driver can be complex because it often requires a thorough investigation, evidence collection, and experienced legal guidance from an attorney. From analyzing the circumstances of the accident to gathering witness testimonies and obtaining relevant documentation, each step plays a crucial role in establishing liability.

Furthermore, demonstrating that the driver's distraction directly contributed to the accident and resulting injuries adds another layer of complexity to the case. This may involve examining phone records, surveillance footage, or other forms of evidence to substantiate claims of distracted driving.

Navigating these challenges often necessitates the knowledge of an experienced car accident attorney who can assess the nuances of the situation, leverage available evidence, and advocate on behalf of the injured party to seek fair and full compensation for the damages incurred.

At Goldberg Finnegan, our experienced car accident lawyers know how to find the facts that matter to a case and hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. Our attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the maximum compensation our clients deserve, working hard to uncover evidence and build strong legal cases.

See what our dedicated legal team can do for you, and contact us today for a free case evaluation. We have offices in Silver Spring and Rockville, Maryland.

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