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MSP, MDOT, AAA To Motorists: ‘Don’t Drive Intexticated’

Glen Burnie, MD  — The Maryland State Police, Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration and AAA Mid-Atlantic have teamed up to remind motorists of the risks of distracted driving.

Officials noted that each year on Maryland roads, distracted driving is reported as a factor in nearly 200 fatalities and more than 28,000 injuries. AAA Mid-Atlantic’s traffic safety campaign, “Don’t Drive Intoxicated, Don’t Drive Intexticated,” encourages people to change texting behaviors behind the wheel.

According to the National Highway Traffic SafetyAdministration (NHTSA), sending
or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55mph, those five seconds equate to traveling the length of a football field blindfolded.

Distracted driving is especially concerning among younger drivers. NHTSA data since 2007 indicates drivers between ages 16 and 24 use handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates compared to older drivers.

In addition to using a cellphone while operating a motor vehicle, distracted driving can include anything that takes a driver’s attention away from driving, such as eating, changing radio stations and talking to passengers. “Our strict enforcement of traffic laws is a daily reminder to drivers that our laws are in place for their safety,” said Captain Daniel Pickett, of the Maryland State Police Field Operations Bureau. “Violation of those laws impacts the safety of everyone on our
roads.”

In Maryland, fines for using a cellphone while driving are $83 for the first offense, $140 for a second offense and $160 for a third offense. Writing, sending or reading a text or electronic message while driving can result in a $70 fine and one point on the
driver’s record. These penalties increase if the use of a device contributes to a crash, serious injury or death.


As part of its awareness campaign, MDOT MVA offers these safedriving tips:

 

  • Serve as an example for your family and friends by avoiding distractions while driving.
  •  Pull over and park in a safe location if you need to send a text
  • message.
  • Designate a passenger to respond to any messages while you are
  • behind the wheel.
  • Save social media for later. Do not use your phone for social media while driving.
  • Put your cellphone in the trunk, glove box or back seat if you are tempted to use it.
  • Speak up. If your friends or family use their cellphones while driving, ask them to stop.
  • Also, keep police and other emergency responders safe and MOVE OVER if it’s safe to do so,or slow down when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle using visual signals.

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