Of all the causes of car accidents in Maryland, distracted driving is one of the most common. According to a report, 3,142 persons died in 2019 due to car accidents caused by distracted driving.
Distracted driving describes any activity that takes your focus off the road as you drive. It’s such a risky activity because safe driving requires your full attention on the road. Driving engages all your senses, and anything that diverts your focus while at it can be very disastrous.
From mild to severe car crashes leading to death, the consequences of distracted driving are far-reaching. To this end, Maryland treats distracted driving as a serious offense and prescribes severe punishment for offenders.
In this article, we will discuss what constitutes distracted driving and its penalties in Maryland. You will also learn what to do when you are involved in a car accident due to distracted driving. Plus, when to call a car accident lawyer.
What Are the Types of Distracted Driving?
Texting while driving is a very popular example of distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, texting is the most alarming distraction, causing you to lose focus for about five seconds.
However, there are more subtle types of distracted driving that are equally destructive that many people aren’t aware of. We’d discuss them under the three main kinds of distractions that Maryland recognizes:
Visual distractions are one of the most obvious types of distracted driving. That’s because drivers take their eyes off the road completely, and everyone can see that. Visual distractions put something else in your line of sight as you drive.
As such, you are no longer aware of what’s happening on the highway as you navigate your steering wheel. Examples of visual distractions include putting makeup on, reading text messages, observing billboards, and operating a GPS. They also cover browsing a playlist, watching a video, or searching for an item in your car.
Manual distractions happen when you’re doing something else with your hands as you drive. This type of distraction takes your hand(s) off the steering wheel. They make you lose control of your car for some time, which is highly disastrous, especially during unforeseen circumstances. Manual distractions on the highway include eating and driving, smoking, brushing your hair, etc.
Cognitive distractions are the most subtle forms of distracted driving. However, they are not any less dangerous than the other types. Mental distractions aren’t obvious because the driver can still seem focused on the road. Also, the distracted driver may have both hands on the wheel.
This type of distraction happens when drivers focus their minds on something else. Most times, the driver is “Lost” in thought. Talking to other passengers, listening to a podcast or music, etc., are common examples of cognitive distractions.
What Are the Penalties for Distracted Driving?
Maryland makes road safety a top priority and prescribes strict punishments for distracted drivers. These punishments range from mild to severe and include points on the drivers’ license and fines.
In serious cases, distracted driving can lead to a reckless driving charge that may result in license suspension. A report from Maryland’s transportation department outlines the fines for phone-distracted drivers as follows:
- $83 for a first offense
- $140 for a second offense
- $160 for the third time (and subsequent) offenses
- Tickets for drivers who are writing, sending, or reading a text while driving. That carries $70 and 1 point.
- If the phone distraction causes a crash, the fine becomes $110 and 3 points.
Do I Need a Lawyer After an Accident Due to Distracted Driving?
Whether you’re a victim of distracted driving or you caused the accident, you need an attorney to help your case. For the victim, you may want to get compensation from the at-fault drivers’ insurance for your losses and pain. In that case, an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you negotiate a fair settlement.
If you’re the distracted driver, you run the risk of a fine or points on your license. However, no matter how complicated it is, a car accident attorney can help you through it. Your lawyer will fight against a conviction if the case gets to court.
Consult With the Best Personal Injury Attorneys for Free!
At Pinder Plotkin LLC, we are passionate about the work we do. We’ve successfully helped thousands of clients through the rigors of pursuing a distracted driving case. Our personal injury lawyers are ready to extend the same hand of legal assistance to you.
Were you involved in a distracted-driving car accident? Let’s get on your case. Give us a ring to schedule a free consultation with the best lawyers in Maryland.