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Is it legal to use a cell phone while driving in Maryland?

There are many reasons for Maryland residents to drive defensively on the road. From other individuals driving drunk, driving aggressively or driving while being drowsy, there is no shortage of dangers on the road that can result in injury when accidents occur.

One of the most prevalent dangers on the road in recent years comes from texting and driving. Individuals who use their phones while driving may not realize the dangers it poses to others, as the person may feel they have full control over the vehicle even while texting or talking to others. Yet, even the most momentary lapse of attention can result in an accident that injures others.

In Maryland, the use of handheld cell phones is prohibited while a person is driving. Accordingly, individuals can be ticketed when texting while driving. There are exceptions that apply for hands-free devices, although authorities still urge individuals to avoid calls when possible.

Even stricter regulations apply for drivers under the age of 18. Minors are not only prohibited from using handheld devices, like adults, they are also prohibited from using hands-free devices.

Ultimately, texting while driving is just one of many ways in which a person can be a distracted driver. More traditional distractions, like eating food, putting on makeup or even interacting with others in the vehicle can take a person's attention of the road and result in accidents.

When accidents occur, those who are injured may have a cause of action to bring against a distracted driver for negligence. Violations of motor vehicle statutes can play a part in these lawsuits, as a violation can create a presumption that a person acted negligently. Accordingly, texting while driving can not only result in a ticket for those who violate the law, it can also help an injured person prove that driver was negligent at the time of the crash.

Source: Maryland MVA, "Maryland Driver's Manual," accessed on Aug. 22, 2014

Source: Maryland MVA, "Maryland Driver's Manual," accessed on Aug. 22, 2014

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