The majority of car accidents are preventable. While there are many causes of Maryland car accidents, most accidents are the result of a few very common negligent driving behaviors. In Maryland, one of the leading causes of car crashes is distracted driving. Distracted driving consists of any time a driver engages in behavior that removes their attention from the road. Distractions can be visual, auditory, manual or cognitive. For example, eating or drinking, changing the radio station, talking to a passenger, daydreaming and texting are all common examples of distracted driving behavior.
While many of the reasons for a driver’s distraction have been around for years, today, the most commonly cited reason for a distracted driving accident is cell phone use. This includes both talking on the phone as well as texting while driving. Currently, Maryland law prohibits the use of handheld devices while driving; however, hands-free devices can be used to make calls. Both talking and texting while driving are primary offenses, meaning a law enforcement officer can pull a motorist over for using their phone even if they are committing no other infractions.
The state department of transportation keeps very detailed records of all Maryland distracted driving accidents. In part, this is to gauge the effectiveness of government efforts to reduce the instances of distracted driving. On average, there are nearly 54,000 Maryland traffic accidents that are caused by distracted driving. These crashes result in nearly 18,000 injuries and 160 deaths. According to the most recent data from 2018, there were over 57,000 traffic accidents caused by distracted drivers. These accidents resulted in 18,102 injuries and 176 deaths.