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: