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Maryland car accident: Distracted driving has fatal consequences

Every day, on roads in Maryland and elsewhere, it is not uncommon to see drivers who are distracted. Sadly, such behavior can, and often will, lead to a car accident. According to the AAA Foundation, many collisions involving distracted drivers result in fatality, affecting thousands of people every year.

It has been reported that approximately 16 percent of all fatal auto accidents can be linked to some form of distracted driving. It has been estimated that 5,000 people across the country die in such incidents annually. This is certainly a significant number, one that both federal and state law enforcement authorities would like to see decrease.

What is it, though, that is causing drivers to lose focus when behind the wheel? According to the AAA Foundation, the number one issue appears to be the use electronic devices -- particularly among younger drivers. People can be seen talking on cellphones, emailing, texting, playing games and even downloading music all while trying to operate their cars. While performing any of these activities, a driver's eyes will be removed from the road for an average of 27 seconds. Depending on the speed at which one is going, 27 seconds allows one to travel a pretty good distance and a lot can happen in that short amount of time.

Aside from electronic devices, other major distractions might include eating, interacting with passengers, grooming and reading. It only takes a matter of seconds for an accident to occur. By removing one's full attention from the road for any reason, one's ability timely react is lost.

If a distracted driver causes a car accident, he or she may be held accountable for any resulting damages. Victims or -- in events of fatality -- their surviving family members may be entitled to pursue civil claims in a Maryland court against the vehicle owner and/or the driver, or even the driver's estate if he or she is killed in the incident. By taking this type of action, monetary relief may be achieved if negligence can be successfully established.

Source: aaafoundation.org, "Distracted Driving", Accessed on Sept. 18, 2016

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