Many states have issued strict distracted driving laws in an effort to reduce the number of accidents that occur when people use their handheld devices while driving. One state has passed a new law that bans the use of any handheld devices at any time unless it is an emergency situation. For example, in the state of Washington, drivers who are caught talking or texting on the phone, or engaging in other distracting behaviors, like eating or applying makeup, can face steep fines of up to $234.
Currently, Washington is the only state that prohibits drivers from even holding their phone while driving, including when they are stuck in traffic or at a red light. Drivers who think they can get around the ban by resting the phone on their shoulder, or somewhere else within reach, should think twice before trying this. A police officer may be less likely to be lenient if it appears that a driver is trying to be sneaky.
Texting while driving is already banned in 44 states, including Washington, D.C. In addition, 14 states and D.C. prohibit the use of cellphones while driving. This new law is the nation’s strictest distracted driving ban to date. Fortunately for residents of some areas in Washington, there will be a grace period before the law is fully enforced. For example, authorities may issue a warning for drivers who have been pulled over for distracted driving and provide them with written guidelines about the new law. However, in towns like Redmond, Washington, law enforcement has no intention of being lenient. Drivers will be issued a $136 fine for a first offense, and $234 for future violations within a five-year period.
A Good Example for Other States to Follow
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has applauded Washington’s efforts to lead the way in reducing distracted driving wrecks. A spokesperson for the GHSA said that Washington should be an example that other states follow when it comes to tackling this issue. Ten years ago, Washington was the first state to ban texting and driving. Today, they continue to set the bar high when it comes to taking aggressive steps to eliminate distracted driving car accidents.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 3,179 drivers suffered fatalities in distracted driving accidents in 2014. The goal of this new law is to significantly reduce the number of accidents that are caused by distracted driving. While this law is strict for good reason, it does allow for the “minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the device.”
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Justice for Victims of Distracted Driving Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving wreck, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Distracted driving accidents are easily avoidable if drivers make the right choice to keep their attention focused on the road, and not on their handheld device. Our dedicated team will ensure that your legal rights are protected and fight so that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve for the injuries you sustained. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.