Using a cell phone while driving in Maryland is against the law. While this is a step in the right direction for preventing deaths from smartphone-related distracted driving accidents, people still use their cell phones behind the wheel. In 2017, 14% of fatalities in distracted driving crashes were specifically caused by cell phone use, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Even though our state has these laws in place for the safety of everybody on the road, people still break the law every day.
If a driver broke the law by using their handheld device while driving in Maryland and caused a wreck that injured you, they should be held responsible for the harm their negligence caused. A Baltimore distracted driving accident lawyer from Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC can help you defend your rights and fight for compensation for your injuries and damages.
Distracted Driving Laws in Maryland
When you use a handheld cell phone while driving in Maryland, you can receive fines because it’s against the law. The law says that a driver cannot hold or use a handheld telephone while the vehicle is in motion. They only time they are allowed to touch a cell phone while driving is if it’s to end a wireless call. There is an exception to the law, though, if the driver is making a call to 911 or other emergency services.
Otherwise, if Maryland drivers use their phone behind the wheel, they will get a fine. Here are the maximum fines and consequences you could face based on the offense:
- $83 for first offense
- $140 for second offense
- $160 for third offense
- Points on their license if the cell phone use resulted in a crash
If a driver is caught writing, sending, or reading a text behind the wheel, they could also face a fine of $70 and receive one point on their license. If the texting resulted in a crash, the fine would raise to $110 and the driver would receive three points on their license.
In the most serious scenarios of distracted driving, Jake’s Law applies. This means that if a person is using a handheld device behind the wheel of a car, and they seriously injure or kill another person, they could receive a fine of up to $5,000 and be sentenced to jail for up to three years.
Are Further Measures to Prevent Distracted Driving on the Way?
There are many different distractions in the car that can cause a driver to lose focus on the road and crash. Cell phones are the most prominent distraction of them all, and lawmakers and companies are trying to figure out ways to keep phones out of the hands of drivers.
Car manufacturers have implemented hands-free connectivity of cell phones to help, but there are still some distractions involved with that. Phone manufacturers have designed cell-phone blocking technology within their devices that drivers can choose to turn on. When activated, the program recognizes when the car is in motion, and disables the driver from receiving notifications, sends automatic replies, and provides direct access to calling emergency services, depending on the program.
On top of manufacturers, some people in state government want to use other methods to deter cell phone use while driving. Maryland’s own Tom Hucker, vice president of the Montgomery County Council, wants the Maryland General Assembly to pass legislation that uses camera to enforce the law against handheld devices. The cameras would work similarly to speed enforcement cameras, but instead of speed, they would capture drivers who are on their phones. Some argue that even though they are intended for safety, the cameras would be an invasion of privacy. The bill will be discussed in this year’s session.
Contact Belsky, Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC
Distracted driving is a careless action that can lead to serious accidents. If you or your loved one was injured or killed by a distracted driver in Maryland, you shouldn’t have to handle the lawsuit on your own. Our experienced distracted driving accident lawyer will fight for you to make sure that you don’t feel pressured to settle for less than you deserve. With our support, you’ll be able to focus on physically and emotionally healing from your accident. Contact us today so that we can discuss your potential claim and start you on the path to legal recovery.
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