At Cohen, Snyder, Eisenberg & Katzenberg, P.A., we often represent people across the state who have received injuries in motor vehicle accidents to which texting behind the wheel contributed. Not only is texting while driving illegal in the state, but also such a driver who caused a crash that hurt someone else because of texting behavior would be liable for money damages in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
State law forbids a driver from talking on a mobile phone (except for making an emergency call) and from reading, sending or writing an email or text while driving. In fact, a driver who caused death or serious injury from an accident that happened when talking on a handheld phone or texting while driving may receive a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine up to $5,000.
In addition, such behavior is clearly negligent and reckless for purposes of liability in a civil lawsuit.
Part of our investigation of every accident we look into for an injured client or for the survivors of a loved one killed in a motor vehicle collision is to determine whether the driver of the car or truck in question was texting or talking on a cell phone while driving.
Texting particularly distracting
According to the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Administration or MVA, distractions can be visual, auditory (hearing), manual (hand use) and cognitive (thought processing). Texting while driving encompasses three of these four kinds of distraction, showing just how dangerous the behavior can be from an accident-risk standpoint.
You would think that as a country we would be changing our texting-while-driving behavior, but a recent survey suggests high levels at all ages nationally. A recent study found that almost 40 percent of high school student surveyed had texted while driving at least one day in the past 30 days, but 56 percent of teens 18 and older reported sometimes or frequent texting while driving.
Good news: Maryland was at the low end of this scale at 26 percent for texting teens. While that is a positive result for Marylanders, that is still enough to cause serious injury and death on our roads. Be sure to keep your phone in your purse or in the glove box while driving for your own and others’ safety.