Distracted Driving: Texting While Driving Accidents

Distracted Driving: Texting While Driving Accidents

texting while driving accidents

Distracted Maryland drivers caused over 140,000 accidents in 2022, resulting in over 3,000 injuries and 50 fatalities. Of those, 4,000 are texting while driving accidents, but distracted driving accidents can be prevented. 

What Is Distracted Driving?

Maryland defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving” because they endanger drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Four primary types of distractions can impair one’s ability to drive safely: 

  1. Visual Distractions: Anything that takes your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, increases your chance of causing an accident. This type of distraction includes texting, watching videos, and looking around the inside of your car.
  1. Auditory Distractions: Shifting your attention to sounds unrelated to driving reduces your ability to hear traffic, emergency sirens, and sounds that signal changing road conditions. Examples include listening to loud music, podcasts, audiobooks, or any other audio content that diverts your attention away from the road. 
  1. Manual Distractions: Moving one or both hands off the steering wheel to handle other items is a significant cause of accidents. Manual distractions include eating, drinking, grooming or applying cosmetics, texting, adjusting car controls or displays, and searching for items in your car. 
  1. Cognitive Distractions: Thinking of other things besides driving increases your chance of missing important information you need to drive safely. Cognitive distractions include daydreaming, conversations, substance use, emotional dysregulation, and fatigue. 

What is the Penalty for Distracted Driving? 

Marylandhas enacted strict laws with significant penalties for texting while driving. Holding your phone is a primary offense. You can be pulled over anytime you’re holding your phone, even if you aren’t breaking other laws. There are exceptions for dialing 911 in an emergency and some emergency and commercial drivers.

Hands-free calls while operating a personal vehicle are allowed if the driver is over the age of 18 and has no restrictions on their license. Penalties in Maryland start at $83 for a first-time offender and increase steeply with each violation. Second-time offenders face a $140 fine, rising to a $160 fine for the third offense. Points may also be added to the driver’s license. 

Younger drivers and those with learning permits or provisional licenses are not legally allowed to make or receive calls, even with hands-free devices. Those who do will likely find their license or permit suspended in addition to steep fines. 

What Happens if I’m Hit By a Driver Who Was Texting? 

If you have been involved in a texting while driving accident, take the following steps to protect yourself and your legal rights:

  1. Ensure Safety: Check if you or anyone else involved in the accident requires immediate medical attention. If necessary, call emergency services right away. Be sure that you are in a safe place where you can wait for assistance. 
  1. Contact the Authorities: Notify the police or appropriate law enforcement agency about the accident. They will document the incident and create an official report, which can be necessary for insurance claims and legal purposes.
  1. Gather Information: Exchange contact, insurance, and vehicle details with the other party involved in the accident. If there are witnesses, try to obtain their names and contact information. Take photos of the accident scene, including damages to the vehicles involved.
  1. Report to Insurance: Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide them with accurate and detailed information about what happened. Follow their instructions on how to proceed with filing a claim.
  1. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, getting a medical evaluation after an accident is advisable. Some injuries may not be obvious but will show up after your endorphins triggered by the accident have worn off. Record all medical treatments, prescriptions, and any expenses related to your injuries.
  1. Consult with an Attorney: You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, suffering, and property damage. It is crucial to engage an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible so they can start protecting your rights immediately after a text and drive accident. 

Contact a Maryland Distracted Driving Accident Attorney

If you’re suffering from a texting and driving accident in Maryland, the Zirkin & Schmerling legal team is ready to fight on your behalf to ensure you recover fair compensation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident and your losses, you may be able to recover compensation for vehicle damages, medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of future earnings, and more.

You can get started with your case today by calling our 24/7 consultation line at 410-753-4611 or schedule a free case consultation online here.