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What is distracted driving in Maryland?

You probably notice distracted drivers all around you when you’re driving to work, school or on errands in Maryland. You may drive while distracted yourself. The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration reports that 27,000 people are killed or injured each year in distracted driving crashes in this state.

Maryland law defines distracted driving as doing something that takes your attention away from driving. Numerous kinds of activities can distract you while you are behind the wheel, but they fall into the following four categories:

  1. Cognitive – letting your mind wander to something other than your driving
  2. Manual – taking your hands off the steering wheel to use them for another purpose
  3. Visual – taking your eyes off the road to look at something else either inside or outside your vehicle
  4. Auditory – listening to something other than road noises

Specifically, distracted driving activities include the following:

  • Talking or texting on your cellphone
  • Talking with your passengers
  • Eating and/or drinking
  • Adjusting your radio, MP3 player or CD player
  • Using your navigation system
  • Grooming yourself, such as combing your hair and/or applying makeup

Distracted driving facts and statistics

Not surprisingly, metropolitan areas such as Washington, D.C., and Baltimore see the greatest number of distracted driving vehicle crashes. Between 2010 and 2015, nearly 85 percent of vehicle crashes in these two areas involved one or more distracted drivers.

Younger drivers are guiltier of driving while distracted than are older drivers. Approximately 36 percent of distracted driving crashes involve drivers between the ages of 21 and 29. Males are more prone than females to drive while distracted, the percentages being 56 percent and 44 percent respectively. When it comes to distracted driver fatalities, 80 percent of those killed are male.

Safe driving tips

The MVA strongly urges you to never use your cellphone while driving unless you are in an emergency situation. Likewise, never multi-task while you drive and always keep your interaction with your passengers to a minimum. This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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