The Maryland Highway Safety Office has launched a huge highway safety campaign focusing on safe driving behaviors. Ocean City drivers should be aware that, in addition to television ads, billboards and social media advertising, state and local officials have promised “enforcement waves” as part of the high visibility safety effort.
One of the areas of interest in the campaign is distracted driving. Distracted driving occurs in Ocean City and other parts of the country when a driver performs activities while driving such as talking on a cellphone, sending a text or eating.
Cell phone use is one of the leading causes of distracted driving and is a leading cause of auto accidents, according to Maryland officials. Some studies have even shown that cell phone use behind the wheel is so distracting that it is the equivalent of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI).
One-third of fatal crashes in Maryland have been attributed to distracted driving. Maryland officials say that, on average, 181 fatalities result from distracted driving on a yearly basis. Distracted driving-related accidents make up 45 percent of all collisions in Maryland. And, about 85 percent of distracted driver-related collisions occur in the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas
As a result, Maryland officials have warned that using a cell phone while behind the wheel and other electronics are “some of the most dangerous distractions.” “Texting, talking, posting on social media, reading or sending emails, or watching videos all distract you from driving,” they say.
Maryland penalties for distracted driving
In the state of Maryland, it is illegal to use a handheld phone while driving. Wearing headphones or ear pods while driving is also illegal in Maryland.
Maryland drivers are not allowed to use their phones while driving. However, there are exceptions for emergency calls to hospitals, the police department or an emergency medical service provider. An Ocean City distracted driving lawyer can provide more details.
First-offenders can receive a fine of $83. Second-time offenders can receive a fine of $140. Third-time might get fined $160.
If you are driving and found to be reading or sending a text while driving, you might get a ticket with a $70 fine and one point. If you caused an auto accident, you could get a $110 fine and three points.
If the distracted driving causes serious or fatal injuries, then the penalties can be even more severe under a law that went into effect in 2014 because of an accident involving a distracted driver that resulted in the death of a five-year-old boy. In that accident, the distracted driver only had to pay a $1,000 fine. The driver who slammed into the car carrying the boy was on his phone, going 62 miles an hour. He didn’t see that traffic had stopped in front of him and never hit his brakes, according to a news report. Under Jake’s Law, distracted drivers now face a $5,000 fine and a year in prison if they cause a serious or fatal injury.
Maryland is a hands-free state, which means no one should be using their phone while driving, except for emergency circumstances.
How do you prove cell phone use while driving?
An Ocean City distracted driving attorney can determine cell phone use while driving through an investigation that includes an examination of cell phone records.
Maronick Law, LLC is open during the pandemic and will continue to meet your Glen Burnie, Annapolis, Baltimore, Essex, Ocean City, Towson, White Marsh auto accident needs. If you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident, you should talk to a car accident attorney. An Ocean City auto accident lawyer can make sure that you are fully compensated for the expenses you face while recovering.
If you have access to Zoom, we can meet with you remotely. The consultation is free. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.881.4022 or via the website.