Stricter Penalties for Unbuckled and Distracted DrivingMay 30, 2019
From now until August, motorists who are driving while distracted or not wearing a seat belt may not get off with just a warning if pulled over by a police officer. In St. Mary’s County, Calvert County, and Charles County, sheriff offices will be increasing their distracted driving and seat belt enforcement in an effort to reduce the number of motorists that are killed in car accidents every year. As we enter into the 100 Deadly Days of Summer, more drivers are on the road, including a growing number of inexperienced teen drivers who tend to be easily distracted by their phones. Drivers who buckle up and keep their attention on the road ahead are more likely to avoid serious car accidents.
In the state of Maryland, over 120 motorists are killed each year because they were not wearing their seat belt, and close to 200 fatalities each year involve drivers who were distracted at the time of the accident. Over 16,000 car accidents occurred in three Maryland counties that involved distracted drivers and/or occupants that were unbelted. Seat belts are extremely effective at protecting passengers from serious injuries, but they only work if motorists use them. This goes for drivers, as well as front and backseat passengers.
According to the administrator of the Maryland Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), 100 percent of a driver’s attention needs to be on the road, and making a phone call, checking a text, or reaching for something in the back seat prohibits this from happening. Sending or reading a text takes an average of five seconds, which means the driver’s eyes are on the phone and not the road. If the motorist is driving at 55 mph, this is equivalent to traveling the length of a football field blindfolded. Too many fatal accidents continue to occur in Maryland, and these accidents are completely preventable. In addition to the stepped-up enforcement, the MDOT will promote the safety messages via billboards, electric signage, and social media platforms.
Penalties for Unbuckled and Distracted Driving
In Maryland, motorists may be fined $83 for not wearing a seat belt. The fine is the same for a first offense for talking on a cell phone while driving. The fine for a second offense is $140, and $160 for a third offense. Drivers who send or receive a text while driving will be fined $70 and incur one point on their driver’s license. All of these distracted driving penalties may increase if the smartphone contributed to the accident.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Car Accidents
If you or someone you know was seriously injured in a car accident, and the other driver was distracted, you are urged to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. Our experienced and dedicated team will meet with you to discuss the details of your case and determine who is at fault for causing the accident. We will walk you through the claims process and secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, 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 accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.