The leading cause of accidents in the United States is distracted driving. Talking or texting on cell phones, adjusting the radio, even your children goofing off or talking to you can be a distraction enough while driving.
While car manufacturers are working to design and produce cars with technology to help prevent accidents, there is no technology to prevent human distraction. Teenagers are the most easily distracted group of drivers, and unfortunately have the highest rate of vehicle fatalities. That’s why it is so important to make sure that young drivers understand that safety should be their primary focus – not the music, a phone call, or a text message.
Distracted Driving Categories
Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) breaks down the types of driving distractions into four categories:
- Auditory Distractions: Listening to or hearing something not related to driving – radio, the navigation system, talking on the telephone, or having a conversation with a passenger.
- Cognitive Distractions: The driver’s thoughts are not on the road – includes positive and negative thoughts.
- Manual Distractions: The driver’s focus is on operating gadgets or devices within the vehicle – adjusting the temperature, mirrors, radio/cd player/video player, making a call, or checking text messages.
- Visual Distractions: Anything taking place inside or outside of the vehicle that causes the driver to take their eyes off of the road – reading, looking at maps, grooming, and activities taking place outside of the vehicle.
Consequences for Distracted Driving
Maryland has strict laws regarding the use of a handheld cell phone and texting while driving. The law specifically states that when a vehicle is in motion, the driver cannot use their hands to use a handheld telephone, except to initiate or terminate a wireless call or to turn the phone off or on. If a driver is caught using a cell phone in any capacity not stated within the law, they will face fines. Fines range from:
- 1st Time Offenders – $83 maximum fine
- 2nd Time Offenders – $140 maximum fine
- 3rd Time Offenders – $160 maximum fine
Fine amounts include court costs. Points are not given unless using the telephone resulted in an accident. Emergency calls to the police, ambulance, and fire department are exceptions to this law. If a driver receives a ticket for writing, sending, or reading a text message, they will receive a fine and can have points added to their driving records, which will increase their insurance premiums. If a driver causes serious injury or a crash that results in death while using a cell phone, they could very well face a three-year prison sentence and a fine up to $5,000.
Every driver’s focus should be safety. Your eyes, as well as your mind, need to be on the road in front of you.
Get A Quote
If you are interested in learning more about how to stay safe on the road or are simply looking for new, lower cost auto insurance, contact Maryland Auto Insurance today for a no-hassle quote on your auto insurance.