Maryland lawmakers are considering a new bill, named “Jake’s Law,” that would increase the penalties for causing an accident resulting in death while texting or talking on a cell phone. The bill is named after a young, 5-year-old accident victim from Baltimore.
Back in December of 2011, Jake was killed when a driver, who was on the phone at the time, struck and killed him as he crossed the street. Jake, who was playing a Super Mario video game at the time of the crash, explained in his last words to his mother: “I have 43 lives.”
The driver of the car apparently did not see that traffic had slowed in response to an accident. He also did not see the sign several miles ahead of the accident that warned drivers traffic was slowing. The driver did not react until .2 seconds before impact, experts explained. This means that the driver did not even apply the brakes at all.
The driver was charged with negligent driving and failure to control speed to avoid collision and fined $1,000. Under “Jake’s Law” the driver would have been subject to fines of up to $5,000 and three years in prison.
Distracted Driving is “the New Drunk Driving” in Maryland and Across the Country
The number of drivers who admit to driver while distracted is staggering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that each second, there are 666,000 drivers on the road who are using electronic devices. This has led to high numbers of traffic accidents and deaths being caused by distracted driving. For example, in 2012, more than 3,300 people were killed nation wide in distracted driving accidents.
The statistics are no better in Maryland. Just under 30% of drivers admit to using the phone while driving at least once in the past 6 months. That figure comes out to about 1.1 million drivers.
Marylanders support “Jake’s Law” for the most part, with about 75% of citizens behind the bill. Many lawmakers against the bill agree with the bill’s goal, but believe that there may be a better way to implement it. Several other states have implemented similar laws in the past few years.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Distracted Driving Accident?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious Maryland car accident, you should speak to an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney as soon as possible. With new laws like “Jake’s Law” coming into effect each year, the potential for recovery is ever expanding. Although “Jake’s Law” is a criminal statute, it may be used by the courts to establish a duty of care in civil lawsuits, as well. The dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen have the experience you need to effectively bring your Maryland personal injury suit. Click here, or call 410-654-3600 today to schedule a free initial consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Maryland College Student Killed in Hit and Run Accident, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 6, 2014.
Driver Sentenced to Five Years for Pokomoke Hit-and-Run Accident, Maryland Car Accident Attorney Blog, published February 20, 2014.