According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in the United States each day as a result of distracted driving. The increased popularity of cell phone use in recent years has drivers paying less attention to the road and more attention to phone calls, text messages, and social media apps. Despite 15 states banning hand-held cell phone use and 47 states banning texting while driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that around 660,000 drivers are still using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving every day. This has caused an epidemic of distracted driving across the country, with drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists facing unintended and sometimes even deadly consequences.
The state of Maryland is not exempt from feeling the fatal effects of distracted driving. In 2015, an Anne Arundel County woman was indicted in the first texting-while-driving case in the county involving a death. Cellphone records show that the 21-year-old woman was sending text messages at the time that she turned her vehicle off a side street and crashed into a 30-year-old motorcyclist who had the right of way. The motorcyclist died from his injuries and the young driver was charged with negligent manslaughter. This is just one of many examples of an accident that could have been prevented if the driver of the vehicle had not been driving distracted.
Despite the alarming number of distracted driving incidents occurring daily, there are simple steps that can be taken to minimize the risks of distracted driving. First and foremost, don’t pick up the phone. If you need to respond to a phone call or text message while alone, pull over and park your car before doing so. Alternatively, you can assign a passenger as the “designated texter” and allow them access to your calls and messages while you drive. To eliminate the temptation altogether, put your phone in the backseat, trunk, or glove compartment during your trip. If this makes you uneasy, several phones and apps now have settings that will disable your cell phone while your car is in motion, ensuring that you can’t get distracted by the device while behind the wheel.
Distracted driving can be easily prevented, but that doesn’t mean that every driver on the road will stop picking up their phone when it rings or typing up a quick text message in response to a family member or friend. If you or a loved one has been harmed as the result of a distracted driving incident, call the experienced auto accident attorneys at The Yost Legal Group at 1-800-YOST-LAW (1-800-967-8529). We will review every detail of your claim at no cost to you and will help give you the answers you deserve. Call today for your free consultation.