MD's Stricter Laws on Distracted Driving

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Posted on May 07, 2014

Recently the Maryland Senate unanimously passed its version of a law that would increase the penalties for motorists who are the cause of serious accidents because they are texting while driving.

This bill, which is sponsored by Senator Roger P. Manno of Montgomery County, would impose a prison sentence of up to 3 years and a fine up to $5,000 on the driver whose texting caused an accident resulting in a serious injury or a death. 

This decision came after an accident where an sedan was rear ended by and SUV in busy Baltimore traffic, by a person using their cell phone. A child named Jake had been sitting in the back sit when this occurred and unfortunately lost his life. Because the driver behind Jake and his family was distracted, he had not put on his brakes and the impact killed the young passenger. 

The driver, Devin McKeiver, was not drunk, but had he been drunk he would be facing jail time, reported the Washington Post. Instead of jail time, McKeiver got off with a $1,000 fine.

The family of Jake, being to ask lawmakers of MD to increase penalties for drivers who cause accidents due to such distractions as texting or talking on a cell phone. The bill that was passed, known as 'Jake's Law' in Annapolis, requires the distracted drivers to give the officers on site their information regarding their cell phone so that they can detect what they were doing at the time of the impact. 

Distracted driving is considered the new drunk driving, reported the Washington Post, because anything that takes your eyes off of the road---even if it is only seconds, is too long and could take a life.

We recently did a blog post discussing the issue where distracted driving due to cell phone use was being under reported. Trying to prove that the cause of your accident was due to the driver using a cell phone may be hard to do in court. We have subpoenaed cell phone records, but years later, it is sometimes hard to align the data with the exact moment of time when the accident occurred, which is not often known. But it looks like Maryland is starting to make and effort in getting this data by having the driver hand over their cell phone information---carrier, email address and number.

For more information on 'Jake's Law' head over to Washington


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Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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