In Maryland, a total of 231 persons lost their lives in 2011 and 29,050 persons were injured in distracted driver-involved car accidents.
Across the country 1 out of 4 car accidents that occur are the result of Distracted Driving. According to the official U.S. Government website for distracted driving- an individual is 23 times more likely to crash a vehicle if they are texting while driving.
Car accidents caused by text messaging or distracted driving can leave a person and their family seriously injured or may result in a wrongful death. If you or a loved one were injured by a distracted driver consider contacting an auto accident lawyer today.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is the presence of anything that can distract a driver’s physical and mental attention away from driving. According to the Maryland State Highway Administration, 30 percent of all traffic injuries in Maryland involve a distracted driver. There are three different classifications for distracted driving: physical distractions, mental distractions & cognitive distractions. Some examples of contributing factors to distracted driving are:
- Creating or reading text messages
- Using a Cell phone
- Using a GPS device
- Using a MP3 Player
- Changing the radio station
- Checking voicemail
- Attending to a child
Distracted Driving Laws in Maryland
In October of 2011 Maryland made texting while driving a primary offense. This means that police are allowed to pull over an individual and issue a ticket for texting while driving. More recently, the Maryland Legislature passed a law making it a primary offense to use a cellular phone while driving to talk or e-mail. The law will go into effect October 1, 2013. Drivers that are observed emailing, texting or talking on a cellular phone without a hands-free device will soon be pulled over by the police and also issued a ticket for violation of the law. The Washington Examiner reported that Maryland will join nine other states and the District of Columbia as states with laws that prohibit cell phone use while driving.
Distracted Driving & Negligence Laws in Maryland
Negligent Driving is a criminal offense. It is defined as, “operating a motor vehicle in a careless or imprudent manner that endangers any property or the life or person of any individual.
Typically the violation of a state law is evidence of negligence in Maryland. This means that if a driver is found to have violated the distracted driver laws or negligent driver laws of Maryland, then their unlawful actions may be evidence of their negligence in a personal injury law suit.
It is important to also note, that if the victim or injured person in the accident was negligent in any way, they may not be able to recover against the driver. The Maryland Court of Appeals recently decided in the case of Coleman vs. Soccer Association of America to uphold Maryland’s strict contributory negligence rule. The rule does not allow an accident victim to recover if the court finds that their negligence or failure to use ordinary care contributed to the cause of the accident in any way.
Contact a Maryland Attorney
Gordon Feinblatt's Personal Injury Practice Group has experience in all areas of tort law, and handles automobile negligence claims regularly. If you have questions after a distracted driving automobile accident in Maryland, contact our lawyers today at 1-888-540-2599