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Federal agency warns against texting and driving

The numbers surrounding distracted driving are startling. Maryland readers may be shocked to hear that in 2012 over 420,000 people were injured and over 3,000 people died in accidents due to distracted driving. What is more unsettling is that many of these accidents involve young drivers. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation over 25 percent of distracted drivers involved in accidents that caused at least one fatality were in their 20s.

With these grim statistics in mind, the DOT has named April National Distracted Driving Month. This coincides with the release of a commercial video on the website by the U.S. Department of Transportation that shows just how dangerous distracted driving can be. The video features three teenagers enjoying themselves in a car while the driver sends a text message on her cellphone. Suddenly, the driver runs through a stop sign leading to a catastrophic accident.

As this shows, texting and driving is a serious threat to all other drivers on the road. However, texting is not the only form of distracted driving. Talking on the phone, eating or playing with the radio while driving could all be considered forms of distracted driving. What it comes down to is that distracted driving is dangerous driving. Sadly, this message comes too little too late for individuals already injured or killed in car accidents due to distracted drivers.

When an individual is injured due to a distracted driver, they can incur substantial financial hardships stemming from medical and rehabilitation expenses, not to mention lost wages if they are unable to work following the crash. In these situations victims may consider pursuing legal action. A lot of factors will come into play when determining whether a driver is negligent, but evidence of distracted driving could prove to be pivotal in the outcome of the case. In the end, it is better to -- as the video says -- just drive.

Source: NBC News, "Distracted Driving Commercial Geared to Stop Texting and Driving," Alessandra Malito, April 3, 2014

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