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Distracted driving car accidents during the holiday season

It is the holiday season when numerous drivers are out clogging the streets trying to buy last minute Christmas gifts and make it to holiday parties on time. Maryland drivers have a hard enough time driving safely and following traffic laws as it is. Add a few holiday stressors and other distractions into the mix, and you have a recipe for more distracted driving car accidents.

Distracted driving is caused by a wide variety of factors. These days, texting and using smart phones is a primary cause of many distracted driving events. Eating and drinking, chatting with passengers, grooming and reading are other common factors. Watching videos, using navigation systems or adjusting radios and other controls inside the car also cause a lot of accidents.

In Maryland, texting while driving and using a handheld cellphone while driving is illegal. Police can and will stop drivers for talking on their cellphones. Also, drivers who cause death or serious injury while they are chatting on their cellphones or while they are texting could be sentenced to three years in jail and be subjected to fines of as much as $5,000.

The above penalties, though, are merely the criminal punishments. Maryland drivers can be held fully liable for personal injuries and property damages caused in distracted driving car accidents. Indeed, they may be required to pay damages relating to the victims' medical care, lost income, lost quality of life and many other categories of damages depending on the facts, circumstances, injuries and damages related to the collision. For this reason, all Maryland drivers are encouraged to drive safely and free of distractions this holiday season.

Source: State of Maryland, Department of Transportation - Motor Vehicle Administration, "Distracted Driving" Dec. 24, 2014

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