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As a car accident attorney, I have the unfortunate experience of meeting far too many people injured by a distracted driver. Distracted driving includes a driver taking their eyes off the road, taking their hands off the wheel as well as not mentally paying attention to the traffic around them. As we all know all too well, distracted driving with a cell phone is all around us.
Not surprisingly, fatalities and serious injuries from distracted drivers are on the rise nationwide. The National Highway Traffic safety Administration just released the statistics for 2012, finding that distracted riving accounted for 10% of all fatal crashes, 3,328 deaths and 421,000 injuries. National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration. For our State of Maryland year ending 2011, an unfortunate 231 Marylanders lost their lives and 29,050 were injured as a result of distracted driving. Maryland Highway Saftey Office.
Fortunately, our Maryland Legislatures have focused their collective attention on the dangers and increasing frequency of distracted driving. Unfortunately, it took a young happy five year old Baltimore boy named Jake, who needlessly lost his life because of a distracted driver, to bring the issue into focus. WashingtonPost.
On April 7, 2014, the Maryland General Assembly passed a measure known as “Jake’s Law” which will greatly increase the penalties for operating a hand held device while driving that causes death or serious injury. CBS Local News
When I sit down and talk with a new client injured in a car accident, one of the first issues I consider is whether this collision may have been caused by distracted driving. Under current Maryland law and Civil Procedure, I often subpoena the cell phone records of the negligent distracted driver. Unfortunately, the cell phone records are only considered evidence of distracted driving if I can pin point the exact time of the collision down to the minute and second (which is often difficult) or where the negligent driver testifies that they never use their cell phone when driving, that they were on a long drive at the time of the collision and the cell phone records indicate that a call or text was made during that long trip. Under “Jake’s Law”, the investigating police officers will have quicker access to driver’s cell phone records which I hope will allow proof of distracted driving to more readily make its way into the Courtrooms of Maryland.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and you suspect a distracted driver may be to blame, please do not hesitate to call our office at (301) 495-3131 or (443) 912-0002 and speak directly with an attorney at DuBoff & Associates for a free consultation.
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