By now, most drivers understand that using a cellphone while driving is distracting. Whether the driver is using the phone to text, surf the internet, or place a call, it takes the driver’s eyes off of the road and focuses his or her attention elsewhere. However, there are other examples of distracted driving that can be just as deadly – including eating and fumbling with the radio. Maryland law enforcement took the month of April, which is also Distracted Driving Awareness Month, as an opportunity to increase its focus on cutting down the number of distracted driving accidents.
According to the State of Maryland’s distracted driving website, drivers that use handheld devices while operating a vehicle are four times more likely to be involved in an accident that results in injury to themselves. In 2011, 231 people died in distracted driving accidents. One of them was five-year-old Baltimore child Jake Owen, who was killed by a distracted driver. In 2014, Maryland passed a law known as “Jake’s Law” that increased the penalties for drivers using cell phones that cause a crash with serious injury or death. It carries to up to one year in jail and fine up to $5,000.
“Not only does distracted driving put the driver at risk, it puts everyone else on the road at risk as well,” said Oleg Fastovsky, a Maryland traffic attorney. A citation for distracted driving in Maryland carries with it a fine of $83 for the first offense, with the fines increasing to $140 and $160 for the second and third offenses, respectively.
Maryland also issues citations for individuals using cell phones without a hands-free device, such as a Bluetooth headset. These citations carry fines as well, but citations are only issued when the use of a cell phone occurs in conjunction with some other violation, such as speeding or reckless driving. If cited, the fine is $40 for the first offense, and $100 for subsequent offenses.
Enforcement of distracted driving rules has always been a challenge for law enforcement. The inability to know whether a person is using the phone for texting or other web purposes versus making a phone call makes it difficult for an officer to determine intent. However, with a push to enforce the law, Maryland officers will be on the lookout for anyone driving distracted. Do not risk the ticket, or your life.
About the sponsor: Attorney Oleg Fastovsky is a seasoned criminal defense lawyer who is licensed in the state of Maryland. Attorney Fastovsky has used his experience to craft winning defensive strategies for his clients. This sponsored content is provided by Oleg Fastovsky Attorney at Law, with a focus on local and national issues.
The material published in this article is sponsored content and not a product of the Baltimore Fishbowl editorial team. Any opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily represent the views of Baltimore Fishbowl.