Distracted driving is a significant cause of motor vehicle accidents and related fatalities nationwide and in Maryland. Maryland has laws aimed at preventing distracted driving.
The state recognizes that driving is a complex operation requiring your full attention to the operation of the motor vehicle and changing road conditions. Distractions to driving occur in three categories: visually, manually and cognitively.
Laws against distracted driving
Maryland law bars using a cell phone with your hands while driving. You can talk on your phone if you use a hands-free device. To get a ticket for illegal cell phone use, the police must stop you for some other violation, such as reckless driving.
The law also forbids sending or receiving text messages on any device while you are operating a motor vehicle. A conviction for texting while driving results in a misdemeanor crime. A penalty is typically imposed.
Activities to avoid while driving
In addition to cell phone use and text messaging, you must avoid distractions from other activities. Eating while driving can distract you visually, manually and cognitively. You should also avoid grooming regimens, such as putting on makeup while driving. If you have children in the car, you should pull over if you need to help them or stop rowdy behavior. Do not have pets in your lap while driving.
If you drive while engaging in another activity and cause an accident, you are guilty of distracted driving. Make it your priority to always focus on driving and not complete other tasks.