Maryland Enacts Anti-Text Messaging Laws to Prevent Car Accidents

Texting while driving is an extremely dangerous practice that is becoming increasingly common. The danger presented it that of a distracted driver whose eyes are on his or her smart phone rather than the road. And, any time a driver is distracted, the likelihood of a car accident increases exponentially.

We’ve discussed the dangers of distracted driving on this blog on many occasions, including: 1) the dangers of commercial truck drivers using cell phones; 2) whether it’s wise to make it easier for drivers to use iPads while on the road; and 3) Illinois ban on texting while driving.

Recently, Maryland passed a similar law. The new Maryland law is intended to reduce the number of car accidents by making it easier for police to ticket those who text and drive. Before the new law was enacted, officers could not pull over people for texting and driving and instead needed another reason to stop the car in the first instance. Now, officers can stop and ticket drivers for simply texting while driving. This Washington Post article explains the new law and offers sobering statistics regarding the dangers of distracted driving:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 20 percent of crashes that resulted in injury in 2009 involved distracted driving. NHTSA said 995 fatal crashes that year involved cellphone distraction. Sixteen percent of all drivers younger than 20 who were involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted.

In other words, distracted driving is a big problem and the best way to prevent it is to discourage drivers from using their cell phones while on the road by penalizing those who do so. Anti-texting laws with teeth, like those just enacted in Maryland, are a step in the right direction.

The Ankin Law Firm is committed to reducing the number of automobile accidents caused by distracted driving. Please take a pledge not to drive while texting and get a chance to win a new Flip video camera.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 600-0000 and howard@ankinlaw.com.