The modern world is a busy place. Everywhere you look, there are billboards, neon signs, televisions, laptops, and cellphones bombarding you with information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No matter where you go, you just simply cannot escape distractions—even on the road. Modern day drivers have more distractions to deal with than drivers did 50 years ago. The result has been an increase in horrific accidents that could have and should have been prevented.
In 2012, more than 3,300 people were killed in distraction-related car accidents and an additional 421,000 were injured. This represented a 9% increase from 2011. Even worse, drivers in their twenties made up an astonishing 27% of all the distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.
What is a Distraction on the Road
Anything that takes your eyes off of the road can be a distraction. As a driver, you have a responsibility to drive your vehicle safely and to avoid becoming distracted by things that are not a part of your driving responsibilities. Common distractions behind the wheel include:
- Talking on the cellphone
- Using a GPS navigation system
- Putting on makeup
- Disciplining children in backseat
- Talking to other passengers
- Changing the radio station
- Reading a billboard or store sign
- Surfing the Internet
- Reading a book or a map
- Watching a video
- And more
Distracted Driving and the Smartphone
Smartphones are an incredible way to stay connected and boost productivity no matter where you are. As a result, drivers are often tempted to use them at all hours of the day–even when driving. They may use their smartphones to search for a way out of traffic, buy flowers for a spouse, send a relative a Facebook message, or answer work emails–all during the morning commute. This habit is extraordinarily dangerous—and increasing.
At any given moment across America, 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or smartphones while driving. This increases the likelihood of getting into a car accident by 3x! In fact, the time it takes you to text or answer a text is a mere 5 seconds. Yet if you were traveling 55mph at the time, you would’ve taken your eyes off the road long enough to cover the length of a football field. YIKES!
Cell Phone Laws in Washington, D.C., Maryland, & Virginia
As more and more drivers engage in cell phone activity while driving, state legislators across the country have begun to enact laws banning the use of cell phones behind the wheel. Here are a few of those cell phone laws.
- Washington, D.C.: Only hands-free cell phone use is allowed, unless it is an emergency. Drivers with learners’ permits and school bus drivers are not allowed to use any type of cellular device. Texting while driving is never allowed.
- Maryland: Handheld cell phones are not allowed. Learners’ permit and provisional license holders are not allowed to use any type of cellular device. All texting while driving is banned—even when stopped at a red light.
- Virginia: Only teen drivers are banned from using cell phones while driving. There is no handheld cell phone ban at this time. Texting, however, is banned for all drivers.
Contact Accident Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our accident lawyers know just how quickly an accident can occur. As experienced accident lawyers, we have represented injured individuals and families in the Washington, D.C. metro area, Virginia, and Maryland. Our accident attorneys work tirelessly from the very start to ensure that all our clients receive the compensation they need to fully recover. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The accident attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and other locations throughout Maryland and Virginia.