As we enter the first week of November, much of our surroundings begin to change. It will be darker when we wake up in the morning and the sun will disappear more quickly in the evenings. The weather will turn colder and we will turn our attention toward the holiday season. This time of year becomes hectic for most commuters across the state of Maryland. Scheduling conflicts seem to appear more often than during the summer and it is much less pleasant to spend leisure time outdoors. These factors are not unrelated to an increasingly common habit of texting while driving.
In the spirit of Halloween one Maryland officer recently dressed up in costume. Instead of asking for treats, however, he was attempting to catch inattentive drivers who were paying more attention to their phones than to the road. Last week Montgomery County Police Sergeant Phillip Chapin, along with eight other officers, dressed homeless people and held signs reading, “I am not homeless. I am a Montgomery County police officer looking for cell phone violations.”
The attempt to catch drivers violating Maryland’s distracted driving statutes was not in vain. In fact the officers issued about 56 tickets within Montgomery County. Thirty-one of these tickets were issued to drivers cruising along and using cell phones without hands-free devices. The officers created this event in response to the increased number of traffic deaths related to distracted driving over the past few years. Distracted driving, when it comes to cell phones, can come in a variety of forms. The visual distraction that causes a driver to take his or her eyes off the road is the most problematic. When a driver physically uses his or her hands to manipulate a cell phone screen rather than to drive the car, accidents are likely to occur. As cell phone usage and ownership becomes more and more prevalent it is likely that distracted-driving-accidents will, too.
In Maryland, as little as three years ago, 231 people were killed due to a distracted driver. An additional 29,050 people were injured due to a driver operating a vehicle while distracted. In one month alone in 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent in the United States. This was about a 50% increase from two years before in 2009. A year earlier, in 2010, 18% of all crashes that resulted in injury were due to distracted drivers. Maryland is not alone when it comes to problems with distracted drivers, nationally distracted driving plays a role in one of every four car accidents. In 2010, over 3,000 people were killed as a result of using a cell phone while driving.
The bottom line here, is that no one should lose their life over a text message. If you or someone you love has been injured as the result of a serious car accident, contact our team today at Bob Katz Law and let help you fight for fair compensation for your losses.