Posted On: January 22, 2010

Maryland Highway Traffic Safety Gets a Green Light, But Teen Drivers Need Tougher Regulations to Prevent Auto Accidents

Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety reports that Maryland is among a handful of states that get good or "green" marks for highway safety. However the group believes that Maryland teen traffic accidents could be prevented with tougher state laws restricting teenage drivers.

Maryland has a Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program for teens and has adopted an all-driver ban on texting while driving (see blog entry on Maryland texting and driving ban).

Still The Washington Post reported that Md. "failed to make the grade in five areas, four of them restrictions on teen drivers and the fifth a requirement for use of interlock devices by all offenders." An interlock device is a handheld breath testing unit used to monitor whether drivers who have been charged with drunk driving -- a main cause of fatal highway accidents in Maryland and around the country -- are in fact under the influence when they attempt to start their vehicles. The device disables the car's ignition if the driver does not exhale a sober breath sample.

An experienced Baltimore County car accident injury lawyer keeps current on state laws governing teen drivers. They are aware of the heightened risk that occurs when teens get behind the wheel, particularly if they're texting, talking on cell phones, distracted by other young passengers in the car -- and if alcohol or drugs are involved. (See related blog item on teen driving laws in Maryland.)

The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety group has issued a 2010 roadmap of recommendations urging states to pass additional safety regulations related to teen driving, impaired driving, child passenger safety, and other safety issues. DC joined Maryland in getting overall good marks for highway safety. Our neighbor Virginia, however, got poor or red marks. The Post wrote that the act of driving over Potomac River bridges brings motorists into dangerous territory for car, motorcycle, or truck and SUV accidents.

Va. is ranked among the worst states for highway safety
WashingtonPost.com Jan. 11, 2010

Related Web Resources

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

The 2010 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws

Safe Roads 4 Teens: Maryland Teen Driving Laws

Posted On: January 18, 2010

Construction Worker & Garbage Collector Among 10 Worst Jobs for 2010 (And Maryland -- Stevedores / Dock Workers Made the List, Too)

A career site's list of the best and worst jobs for 2010 reveals something Baltimore County work accident attorneys have known right along: The physically most demanding jobs are also the most dangerous and can lead to serious personal injury, lifelong medical problems, and even death.

Recognizing the risk to life and limb when construction accidents occur, job search site CareerCast.com ranked construction as the no. 8 worst job to pursue this year. The no. 1 worst job was "roustabout," which includes oil rig and pipeline workers, followed by lumber jack and iron worker. The site considered the following factors while conducting research to rank the jobs: Environment, Income, Outlook, Stress and Physical Demands.

Construction Worker made the list due to the physical demands, higher rates of injury, and low median income, though the hiring outlook is "moderate." And Maryland, while our stevedores (dock workers) weren't in the bottom 10 jobs, they weren't far behind -- stevedores ranked 185 out of 200 jobs analyzed, with a hiring outlook of "poor" (besides the challenging work conditions if you can get a job as a dock worker on the Baltimore and Maryland waterfront).

Maryland Workers Comp lawyers know that the most dangerous jobs are also often the least secure -- particularly when workers are injured and unable to support themselves and their families. The Maryland Workers' Compensation insurance system doesn't make it easy for injured workers to file claims. It's a long process, with many places where hurt workers who are inexperienced with the complexities of the insurance system can easily get tripped up and derailed.

That's why we always recommend injured workers of all professions -- construction workers and dock workers, as well as people who work in offices and other environments -- always talk to an experienced Md Work Comp attorney before trying to file a claim on their own.

Oh, and be nice to your taxi driver, mail carrier, and meter reader. Their jobs also ranked in the list's bottom 10.

The Best And Worst Jobs For 2010
Forbes.com Jan. 8, 2010

Related Web Resources

CareerCast.com:

The 10 Worst Jobs of 2010

How We Determined the Top 200 Jobs of 2010


Posted On: January 6, 2010

More States Follow Maryland Ban on Texting While Driving

Lawmakers and public safety advocates hope 2010 will be a safer year on our nation's roads and highways, with more states adopting laws like the one in Maryland that prohibits texting while driving. For anyone who hasn't jumped on board the wireless communications bullet train -- texting is typing and sending "text messages" using a cell phone, Blackberry, or other hand-held device.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that despite advances in wireless communications, "Greater sophistication in these technologies may present greater physical and cognitive challenges for drivers than traditional information sources." Texting while driving is considered by many states including Maryland to be a form of "distracted driving" that can lead to serious and fatal traffic accidents.

Maryland Ban on Text Messaging While Driving
Back in the good old days...reading the newspaper, eating a sandwich, tuning the radio, and applying makeup were the primary forms of driver distraction. Then came the new wireless technologies, bringing the convenience of mobile communications to the driving experience -- and with them new traffic safety hazards. Now drivers talk on cell phones, send text messages, and fiddle with GPS devices. Car, SUV, truck accidents and pedestrian accidents can occur when a driver takes his or her eyes off the road even for an instant doing any of those activities.

Maryland is one of 19 states along with the District of Columbia and Guam that ban text messaging for all drivers. Illinois, Oregon, and New Hampshire are the most recent states to join Maryland in making texting while driving illegal. And with good reason: NHTSA estimates that in 2008 -- 5,870 people died and 515,000 were injured in car accidents where at least one form of driver distraction was reported on the police crash report.

Maryland car accident injury attorneys are all too aware of how quickly things can go wrong out on our roads and highways. We applaud the other states that have joined Maryland in banning text messaging while driving.

2010 Laws Target Texting, Smoking, Cooking
CBSNews.com Dec. 31, 2009

An Examination of Driver Distraction as Recorded in NHTSA Databases (PDF document)
NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts Sept. 2009

Related Web Resources

Maryland State Highway Safety Administration

Governors Highway Safety Association webpages:

Maryland Highway Safety Laws

Cell Phone Driving Laws 2010