What Are Maryland’s Cell Phone Laws?
Distracted driving occurs in many forms and causes thousands of fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries every year. One form of distracted driving is using a cell phone while driving.
In order to decrease the number of cell phone accidents in Maryland, the state enforces the following laws:
- Hand-held cell phone ban for ALL drivers (including school bus drivers);
- Text messaging ban for ALL drivers; and
- Complete cell phone usage ban for young/provisional drivers (including hands-free phones).
If a driver is in violation of any of these laws and causes an accident, victims will likely be able to recover compensation for their crash-related losses.
What Is Jake’s Law?
When a person allows himself or herself to become distracted, they are making a choice, just like when a person chooses to get behind the wheel after they’ve had a few drinks. Eating and drinking, grooming, turning around and talking to passengers, and texting while driving all have the potential to cause serious injury to pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorists.
Up until October 1, 2014, in Maryland, distracted drivers that caused accidents simply had to pay fines in accordance with the laws of the time. This is no longer the case. Thanks to Jake’s Law, named after a child killed by a distracted driver back in 2011, distracted drivers in Maryland today could face tough penalties, including a jail sentence of up to a year, a fine of up to $5,000 and 12 points against their license. Supporters of Jake’s Law hope the bill’s recent passage will serve as a distracted driving deterrence for drivers throughout the state.
While many people learn of the potential penalties of distracted driving and refrain from distracting activities whenever possible, the law does not deter many others. Drivers continue to look at their phones and take their eyes and focus away from the act of driving. While an arrest and criminal penalties may punish a driver, they do little to compensate victims injured by the distracted driver. Instead, injured victims should discuss how to take necessary legal action with an experienced personal injury lawyer right away.