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What constitutes ‘distracted driving’ in Maryland?

Whenever the topic of distracted driving comes up nowadays, it is easy to assume that the conversation will center exclusively on texting while driving and cellphone use behind the wheel. While these two infractions are major components of distracted driving, a driver who is distracted could be doing a number of other acts that prevent them from being fully focused on the road.

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, there are three types of distracted driving: visual, cognitive and manual. “Visual” is the act of taking your eyes off the road; “cognitive” is the act of taking your mind off of your job of driving; and “manual” is physically taking your hands off of the wheel. As you can see, these three types of distracted driving encompass a lot of distracting actions, such as changing the radio, talking to someone in the backseat, or drifting off into a daydream.

Texting while driving and using your cellphone while driving both fit under the definition of distracted driving. But the important lesson from this story is that they aren’t the only forms of distracted driving. When someone isn’t fully focused on the road as a driver, they put themselves at risk, as well as many other innocent people on the road. They also make themselves liable should a civil lawsuit be filed as a result of the car accident.

Maryland has numerous laws to limit the cellphone element of distracted driving. No driver is allowed to use handheld devices, and no driver is allowed to text and drive. There is also another ban that applies to novice drivers, which are defined as any drivers under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit or provisional license. This rule bans such drivers from any cellphone use, regardless of whether it is hands-free or not.