As we continue to become more dependent on personal electronic devices, an unsettling trend is emerging. Drivers who are distracted by smart phones and other devices are causing an alarming number of auto accidents in Maryland and around the country. After a car crash involving death or serious injury it is not uncommon for police investigators and personal injury lawyers to subpoena cell phone records to determine if the at-fault driver was distracted.
Maryland has taken a leading role in enacting laws to combat distracted driving. Maryland is one of 14 states that ban hand-held cell phone use by drivers of all ages. Drivers under the age of 18, as well as those with a provisional license or learner's permit, are prohibited from using either hand-held or hands-free phones while driving. And Maryland has joined 43 other states and the District of Columbia in banning text messaging by drivers of any age.
A driver's attention should be focused at all times on the primary task of operating the vehicle. A driver who fails to keep a proper lookout for road signs, pedestrians and other motorists is negligent. A driver who runs a stop sign or red light because they are texting or talking on their cell phone is negligent.
When a driver's negligence causes serious injury to another person, that driver can be held liable in a civil lawsuit. An injured auto accident victim can sue a distracted driver and recover compensation for lost income, medical expenses and pain and suffering.