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Distracted driving crackdown in Maryland

When driving, you need to keep your focus on the task at hand. There are far too many things distracting drivers, however, the worst being cell phones and texting. The roads are full of drivers who simply are not paying attention.

Maryland continues to crack down on this, issuing more citations for distracted driving all the time. The problem is not going away quickly, however, and some are calling for even more drastic action.

More tickets issued by State Police

Maryland State Police have reported that citations for distracted driving were up nearly 18% in 2017 from the previous year. That is over 40,000 tickets issued. The fine for this offense is $500, one of the steepest in the nation.

The crackdown is essential because of the carnage caused by drivers who are not paying attention to the road. Last year 185 deaths and over 27,000 injuries were reported as the result of distracted drivers in Maryland alone. Even with the action being taken to put a stop to it, the carnage continues.

Is there a technology solution?

Since distracted driving is a problem largely caused by new technology, it’s tempting to find a technology solution to stop it. Police in Maryland are considering putting a device called a “textalyzer” to use.

This would enable police to look at all activity on your phone after a crash, including the time stamp. That would determine if you were using it while you were supposed to be driving.

Civil libertarians are concerned about such a device as an invasion of privacy. To date, courts have not allowed its use. But the manufacturer is looking at how to make sure it is compliant with local laws to protect privacy. That might bring this device to Maryland in the next few years, giving police and insurance companies a new tool to know when distracted driving played a role in a crash.

Put the phone down

As tempting as it is to look for a tech-based solution, there is no substitute for putting away the phone when you drive. This is also true for eating, applying makeup, or anything else which can distract you from being the best driver you can.

It’s not just your life that might be saved by paying attention to the road, either. All of us in Maryland have a responsibility to pay attention to the road and prevent accidents.

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