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Posted on 02-07-2018

Washington State Implements DUI-E Laws. Should Maryland Follow?

As my avid blog readers are aware, I am a Baltimore Chiropractor with three Baltimore chiropractic clinics in Baltimore, MD. My fellow chiropractors and I spend our time treating patients with mostly axial spine pain, including (but not limited to) headaches, neck pain and back pain. We do so without the use of drugs or surgery, through methods such as heat/ice, electric muscle stimulation, spinal traction, spinal manipulation/mobilization, and therapeutic exercises. Since the beginning of this year we have seen a sharp rise in the number of auto accident/whiplash patients that have been presenting to our chiropractic practice. I suspect that in large part distracted driving is to blame. I did some research to see what some other states are doing about this epidemic.

It turns out that Washington state last summer instituted a new law that looks to curb DUI-E. As you might expect this stands for "driving under the influence of electronics". Washington state made it illegal for a vehicle operator to use a phone, tablet, laptop, or video game in a car, whether that car is in motion or not. That's right - even if the driver is stopped at a red light it would be illegal to send a text message or glance at their phone. First time offenders are being charged fines of $136 and second time offenders are being charged fines of $235. These violations will appear on driving records, and reports of this misconduct will be sent to auto-insurers.

Researchers have discovered that the average text message takes about 10-15 seconds to complete. It is thought that the average motor vehicle traveling on a highway at 55 mph could easily travel the length of a football field while staring at a screen and not paying attention to operating the vehicle. With these high rates of speed and distraction, its no wonder why we are seeing higher speed collisions and worse injuries to vehicle occupants than ever before.

I, for one, am in favor of these strict penalties. I think they may actually help to curb some people's "addiction" to distracted driving. Even if the financial penalties are stiff, it is a great way to dissuade drivers from unnecessarily taking risks on the road. It is unclear, however, whether or not Maryland will follow suit and enact similar laws locally. Let's hope they do.

If you, or anyone you know, has been injured as a result of a Baltimore auto accident, whether or not it was the result of driving under the influence of electronics, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at 443-842-5500. We would be happy to get you back on the road to recovery.

Dr. Gulitz

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