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Distracted driving goes well beyond texting and driving

All motorists in Maryland are tasked with taking due care when on the road. Yet with today's technologies and multi-tasking, many drivers find that they are distracted while on the road, which can be a dangerous thing.

In 2012 over 3,300 people died in distraction-related crashes, and 421,000 were injured. These are significant numbers. Distracted driving is especially common among younger drivers. Twenty-seven percent of distraction-related car accidents are caused by motorists in their 20s.

So what is considered distracted driving? The answer may surprise you. It is much more than texting and driving. Many activities, such as eating, reading (even maps), watching a video, tuning the radio or mp3 player, talking on a cell phone or even talking to other occupants in the vehicle are all considered forms of distracted driving, and are all dangerous.

Should a distracted driver cause an accident that injures or kills another person, they may find themselves facing liability. Motorists must drive in a manner that is safe under the circumstances. If a distracted driver breaches this duty and both actually and proximately causes an accident that injures another, the victim may be able to pursue legal action against the driver.

The lesson to take away from all of this is to avoid distracted driving. If a driver takes their eyes off the road for a mere five seconds while driving at highway speeds, it is as if the driver has traveled across an entire football field with their eyes closed. By paying attention to the task at hand -- driving -- accidents can be avoided and lives saved.

Source: DISTRACTION.GOV, "WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING?," Accessed on Sept. 28, 2014

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