Schlachman, Belsky, Weiner & Davey, P.A.

Baltimore Law Blog

With new smartphones and tablets appearing daily, many Maryland residents are more technologically connected than ever before. While the technology can provide instant access and connectivity to people and information, it can also have its drawbacks, particularly when a distracted driver gets in a car accident because of it.

Unfortunately, one man's family is learning this the hard way, after the man died in an auto accident after texting and driving. The 51-year-old man was driving his SUV on the interstate when he crashed into a parked maintenance truck parked off the side of the road, pushing the vehicle almost 40 feet.

The man later died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the crash. A state worker was brought to the hospital after he was struck by a side mirror, but his injuries were fortunately not serious. An investigation revealed that the man had been texting while driving just before the accident occurred.

Given the increase in smartphones and related technology, accidents like the above are becoming increasingly common. States have responded by enacting legislation banning texting while driving, or cell phone use in general.

For instance, in Maryland, all drivers are restricted from texting and handheld use while driving. Texting is a primary violation, meaning officers can pull drivers over based solely on the texting, while other cell phone violations are secondary violations, meaning the officers must first pull the driver over for some other offense like speeding.

While Maryland's laws may subject a driver to a ticket for a violation, drivers may also find themselves liable in an auto accident that results after violating the cell phone statutes. Typically, a violation of state traffic laws creates a presumption of negligence, thus making it easier for an injured party to obtain relief from the negligent driver in a personal injury suit.

Source: Fox 28 News, "Police say man was texting before fatal Ohio crash," Mar. 5, 2013

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