BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A huge leap in deadly crashes and the reason might be something you do behind the wheel.
The fight for years has been against texting and driving, but now, smartphones are upping the ante when it comes to distractions behind the wheel.
A crisis is happening on America’s roads. More than 35,000 people were killed on America’s roadways in 2015. Compared to about 32,000 in 2014, it’s the biggest jump in nearly 50 years.
“If you need to text, wait til you get to a safe spot,” said MVA administrator Chrissy Nizer.
The MVA blames smartphones.
“We’re using texting, we’re using apps we’re doing all kinds of things with these devices, but really you need to park that phone before you drive. Don’t even let it be a distraction,” said Nizer.
From 2014 to 2015, deadly crashes caused by a distracted driver rose nearly 9 percent and it’s not just using a GPS– it’s everything from browsing social media to playing games and even using Snapchat.
In a video, a 22-year-old driver using Snapchat clocked his car at 82 then 115 miles per hour. Moments later, he crashed — killing five people.
Maryland drivers aren’t having it.
“These days, mostly with the young kids, and Facebook and Twitter, everyone is trying to get updates at every second,”said driver Ysam Kabir.
“I just think it’s rude, because you’re putting so many people in danger,” said Barbara Vann.
A clear choice for drivers who don’t want to become a statistic. It can wait.
Maryland is trying something unique to combat this problem. Earlier this year, the MVA designated 13 “safe texting zones” at rest stops throughout the state.
Back in September, Governor Larry Hogan announced a $12.5 million grant to crack down on distracted and reckless driving in Maryland.