Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

Despite the recent push by the federal and state governments, fatigued driving remains a leading cause of Maryland car accidents. The dangers of drowsy driving are undisputed, even when a driver remains awake. Drivers who do not obtain enough sleep, or are otherwise drowsy, suffer from decreased attention span, increased reaction time, and compromised judgment. Of course, there is also the chance that a driver falls asleep behind the wheel, losing all control of the vehicle.

Toll Booth ConstructionIt is estimated that 21% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents involve a fatigued driver. Most often, a driver experienced fatigue due to a lack of sleep. However, intoxication, medication, and various medical conditions can also cause sleepiness. In almost all cases, a driver should be able to notice the effects of drowsiness setting in and should pull off the road when it is no longer safe to operate a motor vehicle.

When a drowsy driver causes a Maryland car accident, anyone injured as a result of the accident may be entitled to compensation through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit. This includes passengers of the car being driven by the at-fault driver. However, establishing liability for a drowsy driving accident may not always be straightforward. Anyone considering filing a Maryland personal injury lawsuit should consult with a dedicated personal injury attorney.

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According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, each day, eight people are killed in preventable accidents that were caused by distracted driving. Furthermore, it is estimated that there are about 1,000 people who are injured per day in distracted driving accidents. Due to the recent increase in distracted driving and the continuing temptation for drivers to text or talk on the phone while behind the wheel, the National Safety Council designates the month of April as distracted driving awareness month.

Cell PhoneDistracted driving can take many forms. Any time a driver engages in an activity that removes their attention from the road, they are engaging in distracted driving. A few of the most common examples of distracted driving are:

  • Talking or texting on a cell phone,
  • Eating or drinking,
  • Talking to a front- or rear-seat passenger,
  • Inputting a destination on a GPS system, and
  • Reading or playing games on a cell phone.

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Rear-end accidents are among the most common types of car accidents in Maryland. While most rear-end accidents that occur at a low speed are not likely to result in serious bodily injury, high-speed rear-end collisions often result in serious injury or death. For these reasons, the State Legislature in Maryland has made a concerted effort to deter distracted driving, one of the leading causes of rear-end collisions.

Shattered WindowEfforts to Stop Distracted Driving

Distracted driving consists of engaging in any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the road and others on it. It is a mistake to assume that distracted driving only includes visual distractions. In fact, most of the common causes of distracted driving are attention-based, rather than visual. These include the common culprits:  talking on the phone or texting, talking to passengers, and eating or drinking.

To help curb distract driving in Maryland, the State Legislature has enacted a tough hand-held device ban. Under the ban, drivers are prohibited from using any hand-held device while they are operating a motor vehicle. This includes talking on the phone and texting. It is only with a hands-free device that a Maryland driver can legally be on the phone while driving.

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Two years ago, the Maryland legislature passed a law making it a primary offense to talk on a cell phone while driving, and texting while driving has been against the law in Maryland for several years prior to the passage of that law. Since the passage of these laws, police have handed out thousands and thousands of these distracted-driving tickets to motorists in violation of the new law. However, according to a recent news report by a local NBC affiliate, drivers are not getting the message.

mobile-phone-1-1225930-mOne Trooper interviewed in the article told reporters that a surprising amount of people are still using their hand-held phones while driving. He explained, “If they are not on it talking or texting, they’re using it for GPS, … They just haven’t got caught yet, and if they did, they just didn’t learn their lesson.”

Driving While Talking or Texting

The practice of driving while using a hand-held device is one of the most common forms of distracted driving. In fact, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration explains that drivers who text or talk on a hand-held device while driving are four times more likely to get into an accident resulting in serious injury to themselves or others. A spokesperson for the MVA told reporters that there are about 200 fatal accidents each year caused by distracted driving, many of which occurred while using hand-held devices.

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