This Thursday, in an attempt to decrease the number of Maryland car crashes caused by distracted drivers, texting while driving will become illegal in the state. Anyone caught sending or receiving texts while operating a motor vehicle will be charged with a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $500 fine.
Lawmakers and many residents are hoping that the ban will prevent motorists from engaging in this bad habit that studies prove dramatically increases a driver’s car crash risk. Maryland State Highway Administration spokesperson Lori Rakowski notes that it is impossible for a person to drive safely while texting because both activities usually require the use of both hands and eyes.
A vehicle moving at a speed of 65 mph for just one second will have traveled 100 feet. This means that even just one (usually, texting requires more) second spent not looking at the road can cause a driver to crash into another vehicle, drive into a work zone, or strike a pedestrian who is running across the street.
Maryland law does not prohibit drivers from reading messages, using applications, or playing games. It also does not explicitly bar motorists from writing or sending Facebook messages, Twittering, or emailing. While Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Rowe says the new law can be interpreted to ban all forms of messages, one defense attorney says that legislators would have been explicit about stating such a complete bar if that was what they intended.
Texting while driving has caused many fatal motor vehicle crashes in recent years. It is also a negligent act that can be the grounds for a car accident victim or his or her family to file a Maryland injury complaint or wrongful death lawsuit.
AAA and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that about 8,000 traffic accidents a day involve a motorist who was engaged in distracted driving.
Texting while driving a road hazard, Baltimore Sun, September 27, 2009
To text or not to text, AAA Club South says “not,” WSAV, September 28, 2009
Related Web Resources:
The Facts about Distracted Driving – Know the Dangers/Avoid the Risks, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
Maryland Highway Safety Laws, GHSA
Please call our Baltimore injury law firm to discuss your Maryland car accident case.