Maryland Texting Ban and Car Accident Prevention: New Report Says Adults as Guilty as Youth of Texting while Driving

“Don’t drive too fast.” “Be careful with your mother’s car.” “Keep your eyes on the road.” “Be home by your curfew.” All typical warnings parents give to their teenagers when they hand over their car keys to them — and pray they come back home alive. Now, 21st century parents need to tell their teenagers, “No talking on your cell phone while you’re driving” and, more recently, “No texting and driving.”

Problem is, an alarming percentage of adults aren’t practicing what they preach.

A new study released by the Pew Research Center shows that adults are as guilty as youth of sending text messages while operating a motor vehicle (see link below). Scores of traffic safety reports show that distracted driving is a primary cause of serious and fatal car accidents in Maryland and around the country. Some scary statistics:

> One in four adults in the U.S. have texted while driving (27%), nearly the same percentage as teenagers who admit to texting while driving (26%).

> A greater percentage of adults admit to talking on cell phones while driving (61%) compared to youth ages 16 and 17 who admit to chatting on their cells behind the wheel (43%).

> Nearly half of adult motor vehicle passengers surveyed said they have been a passenger in a car where the driver was talking on a cell phone or sending text messages.

Drivers who take their eyes off the road for an instant to answer a cell phone or speed dial a number are at increased risk of causing a traffic accident, including traffic-related pedestrian accidents. Add the time and attention it takes to type in and send — and read and reply to — text messages, and it’s a wonder anyone ever gets to work or school or home in one piece. Many states have put restrictions on cell phone use while driving and have made texting while driving illegal, including Maryland.

Maryland Laws: Cell Phone Use and Texting While Driving
Last month, Maryland Gov. O’Malley signed Senate Bill 321 into law prohibiting all drivers from using cell phones behind the wheel without hands-free devices. The law goes into effect in Oct. 2010. In Oct. 2009, Maryland made texting while driving illegal.

Experienced Cecil County car accident injury lawyers are familiar with Maryland laws designed to keep motorists safe and prevent serious traffic accidents. No cell phone call or text message is more important than a human life. We’ve blogged before about the dangers of teenage drivers. (See Maryland Teen Driver Safety and Accident Statistics). Now adult drivers should take a hard look at their own driving habits and whether or not they’re endangering others on Maryland roads, city streets, and highways.

Adults and Cell Phone Distractions
Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project June 18, 2010
Driving Safety Tips/ Dont be distracted
ABC2News.com May 28, 2010
Maryland Texting While Driving Ban Now Law
Verizon Maryland Consumer Information Oct. 1, 2009
John T. Kuo, MVA Administrator, Addresses New Texting Law
Maryland Texting While Driving Law: Video