Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving is often described as this generation’s drunk driving. As the numbers of intoxicated motorists on Maryland streets have dropped, they have been replaced by an increasing number of distracted motorists, all inattentive enough to cause an accident.

According to Maryland authorities, in 2008, approximately 34 persons were killed in accidents directly related to a distracted driver. Further, 11,578 persons were injured in these accidents. Approximately 75% of the drivers killed in distracted driving-related accidents in Maryland were males.

Among all forms of distracted driving, the most dangerous are those that involve the use of electronic communication devices at the wheel. A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute measured the levels of inattention among drivers involved in a variety of tasks. Out of these, the researchers found that drivers who were texting while driving were 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident while driving.

Maryland has enacted legislation against distracted driving, but these are fairly ineffective, because they’re simply not stringent enough to prevent motorists from using a cell phone or texting while driving. The state currently has a ban on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. But this is a secondary enforcement law, which means that a police officer must first pull a motorist over for some other offense, before charging him with a violation of the law. All novice drivers are banned from the use of all kinds of cell phones, including handheld as well as hands-free sets behind the wheel. Maryland also has banned texting while driving for all drivers, and this is a primary law.

However, in spite of these laws, there is no doubt that distracted drivers constitute a dangerous presence on our roads.

In spite of the fact that cell phones and texting while driving often feature in conversations about distracted driving, the fact is that there are other forms of distractions that can also pose a danger to motorists. For instance, snacking or drinking a beverage while driving, as many Americans normally do, can also be very distracting behavior. A motorist who is fiddling with radio channels, or selecting a CD while driving, can also be distracted enough to cause an accident.

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