Drivers talking on cellphones behind the wheel are both visually and mentally distracted from the road. A study by the University of Utah on cellphone use and texting and driving accidents showed that a driver using a cellphone is just as dangerous as a drunk driver. While cellphone use and texting while driving laws exist in Maryland, DC and Virginia, texting and driving accidents still occur at an alarming rate.
The car accident injury lawyers at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P. are trying to increase public awareness of the dangers cellphone use and texting on the road can cause to prevent unnecessary distracted driving accidents. The information on this page will help you understand the laws surrounding cellphone use while driving and your legal rights after a distracting driving or texting and driving accident.
Some jurisdictions, including the District and Maryland, have cellphone laws prohibiting drivers from using cellphones without hands-free devices while driving. Drivers with learner’s permits or provisional licenses under the age of 18 cannot use a cellphone at all while driving, even hands free. Cellphone texting laws in Maryland also prohibit all drivers from sending or checking text messages, which includes texting at red lights.
In Washington, D.C., drivers may talk on cellphones through hands-free devices. However, Washington, D.C. cellphone laws do allow drivers to use hand-held cellphones in emergencies, such as to call the police or 911. Similar to Maryland cell phone laws for novice motorists, a driver with a learner’s permit or a school bus driver cannot use a cellphone in any fashion while operating a vehicle in Washington, D.C., other than for an emergency. Texting while driving is banned in Washington, D.C. for all drivers.
Virginia bans drivers under the age of 18 from using cellphones or any other communication devices while behind the wheel. Texting is also banned for all motorists in Virginia.
Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia cellphone texting laws consider texting and driving a primary offense. This means that officers can pull over drivers suspected of texting while driving. These texting and driving laws allow police to issue citations and fine drivers who violate them in an effort to make roads safer. Despite these laws, texting and cellphone use while driving in and around the District continues. These laws are not limited to passenger vehicles either. All commercial truck drivers and motorists with commercial motor vehicle (CMV) licenses cannot text on, reach or hold cellphones while driving. The likelihood of being involving in texting and driving accidents has increased for all drivers, passengers and pedestrians nationwide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) distracted driving study, 69 percent of all U.S. motorists age 18-64 admit to using their cellphones while driving. Around 31 percent of drivers in the U.S. reported that they read or sent texts and emails at least once in the month before the distracted driving survey.
Teenagers text and drive more than any other age group. The Pew Research Center found that a quarter of American teenagers ages 16 and 17 admit to texting while driving, and almost 50 percent of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 say they have been in a car while the driver was texting.
Texting while driving accidents is turning out to be a bigger distraction than talking while driving. When you type or read a text message, your attention is completely away from the road. This means you have little or no control over the vehicle to avoid collisions. In a split second, many texting and driving accidents can turn into preventable fatal car accidents.
Drivers have choices to prevent accidents caused by distracted driving and cellphone use. Common choices are:
\Using your cellphone while you drive in any capacity is a dangerous game, and even if you do not use your phone on the road, you are at the mercy of other drivers who do. Speak with the Washington, D.C. car accident lawyers at Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P. for experienced legal help. If a driver on a cellphone injured you or a family member in a texting and driving accident, you have rights that need quick action to preserve invaluable evidence to build a civil or criminal claim.
Contact us at our Washington, D.C., Virginia or Maryland law office by calling today for a free attorney consultation. Our car accident attorneys take most distracted driving texting and accident claims on a contingency fee basis. We will not take legal fees if we are unsuccessful in gaining fair compensation on your behalf.