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Consequences of Driving with a Cell Phone in Maryland

Many people disregard the preventable dangers of distracted driving every day. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, 48,550 total crashes occurred in 2015, 16,390 of which resulted in injuries and 108 in fatalities. Nationwide, about 27,000 people suffer injuries or die every year because of distracted driving. With numbers as high as these, you or someone you know may experience a distracted driving accident on the road. The skilled Maryland personal injury attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC, offer a free case evaluation to help you understand your rights and learn more about the potential recourse available to you.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving occurs when a driver fails to give full attention to the task at hand, driving. One common form of distracted driving is when someone uses a cell phone while operating a vehicle. Maryland law prohibits the use of a handheld cell phone while driving. This includes writing, sending, or reading texts or electronic messages. The use of a cell phone creates the following distractions that obstruct your senses:

  • Visual – Any act that results in taking your eyes off of the roadway
  • Auditory – Listening to something unrelated to operating your vehicle can distract you
  • Manual – Engaging in an activity that requires taking your hands off of the wheel
  • Cognitive – A distraction that causes you to mentally deviate from concentrating on the road

All of these distractions are dangerous to yourself and others. Looking at a phone call or text message not only takes your eyes off of your surroundings on the roadway but listening to and concentrating on a phone conversation or text takes your attention and hands away from safely operating a vehicle.

What Are the Consequences?

Operating a cell phone while driving comes with monetary fines and sometimes even greater consequences. Understanding these laws ahead of time may prevent a driver from engaging in the risky act of driving while distracted. The range of penalties for texting and driving include:

  • Cell phone operation:
    • First violation – $75 maximum fine
    • Second violation – $125 maximum fine
    • Third violation – $175 maximum fine
  • Other possible consequences:
    • Misdemeanor with as much as $500 in fines
    • One point added to the driving record
    • Drivers that are younger than 18 may receive a driver’s license suspension for as many as 90 days
  • Violations resulting in serious bodily injury or death of another:
    • One year in jail and/or $5,000 maximum fines
    • Reckless driving charge
    • Vehicular homicide charge

A recent bill approved by the Maryland General Assembly would increase the second violation for cell phone use behind the wheel to $250. Following violations would increase to $500. Keep in mind that a second violation driving with a handheld cell phone may also add one point to your record.

Contact an Experienced Maryland Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Case

Distracted driving is common and many drivers on the road every day operate vehicles without their full attention. Drivers choosing to text and drive put innocent people like you at risk.

If you are injured in an accident because of a distracted driver, an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer can help. Contact Alpert Schreyer, LLC, today at (301) 812-4777 for a free case evaluation or visit us online.

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