Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers: Trauma Centers Speak Out on Distracted DrivingMay 30, 2016
Trauma centers throughout the state of Maryland see first-hand how dangerous it is to talk or text while driving. Drivers who are distracted by an incoming text or phone call may only look away from the road for a matter of seconds, but that is all it takes to cause a serious, if not fatal, car accident that can have devastating consequences. Last month was Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and trauma centers around the state hope to bring attention to the ongoing problem of distracted driving.
Carole Mays, director of the trauma and injury specialty program at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, wants drivers to understand that making simple behavior changes can prevent injuries resulting from distracted driving. Simple tricks like programming your phone to send an automatic reply to text messages received while driving can make a huge difference in the incidence of car accidents.
Like any widespread change, it does not happen overnight, or without proactive measures like education, new technology, and stricter penalties. According to the injury prevention coordinator for Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, this kind of change requires a cultural shift that can only happen when all of these elements work together.
Texting or talking on a hand-held device is primary offense in Maryland as of 2014, when Jake’s Law was passed. The law was named for five-year-old Jake Owen, who died after his family’s car was rear-ended by a driver who was using his phone. The law states that a judge may sentence a person who is guilty of using a phone while driving to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Jake’s mother said that the only way to change this dangerous behavior is to make the penalties much tougher, similar to the laws against drunk driving. She referenced a 2011-2012 study by the University of California San Diego’s Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety, which studied participants between the ages of 18 and 29. Of those who participated, 78 percent admitted to talking on the phone or texting while driving. However, they said that they would change their behavior if their insurance did not cover this type of accident, if they would receive points on their license, or if the fines were significantly higher. Until these things happen, an astonishing number of people continue to engage in this behavior.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2013, Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration reported 52,732 distracted driving wrecks that resulted in 18,000 injuries. Of those injured, 166 people died. In the United States, there were 421,000 injuries and 3,179 fatalities caused by distracted driving in 2014.
Maryland Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Fight for Victims of Distracted Driving
If you or a member of your family has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, our Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side. We will pursue the optimal financial compensation that you deserve so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. For a thorough, complimentary case review, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent injured accident victims and their families throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point Ridgewood, and Elkridge.