TROOPERS FOCUS ON DISTRACTED DRIVERS THROUGHOUT APRIL
(From a Maryland State Police Press Release 4/4/14 PIKESVILLE, MD) – While April is designated National Distracted Driver Awareness month, troopers across the state will focus their efforts on distracted driving using intense traffic enforcement initiatives.
Motorists across the state are reminded that April is National Distracted Driver Awareness month. Maryland State Police will be using a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to target motorists who use cell phones illegally while driving. Extra patrols of troopers will be out specifically looking for distracted drivers. This effort is part of a high-visibility enforcement initiative that combines intense enforcement with further educating the public of the dangers of distracted driving. The ultimate goal is to save lives by convincing motorists to obey the law.
“Driver distraction presents a serious and potentially deadly danger to everyone on Maryland roads,” Colonel Marcus L. Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police said. “When motorists text while driving, they take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving, which puts everyone’s lives in danger.”
Based on information provided by the Maryland Highway Safety Office, in 2012, 246 people lost their lives on Maryland roads because of a collision where at least one form of distracted driving was noted as a cause. Approximately six percent of observed drivers are using hand held cell phones. This translates into about one out of every seventeen vehicles is being driven by someone using a cell phone.
Drivers are reminded to remove all distractions while driving including any wireless devices. A wireless device is described as a handheld or hands-free device used to access a wireless telephone service or to send or receive electronic messages.
Penalty for Driving Distracted in Maryland
The penalty for this violation is a fine not more than $75.00 for the first offense, not more than $125.00 for a second or subsequent offense or not more than $175.00 for a third or subsequent offense. Points may be assessed by the Motor Vehicle Administration if the violation contributes to a motor vehicle crash.
The additional state police patrols coincide with the Maryland Highway Safety Office distracted drivers initiative and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiative “U Drive. U Text. U Pay”. Overtime funding for additional patrols is provided by grants from the Maryland Highway Safety Office.