Written by Stryder Wegener
While April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, awareness needs to be drummed up year-round, as car accidents due to distracted driving are increasing at an alarming rate. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 30% of crash-related fatalities are caused by distracted drivers. Across the United States, the National Safety Council reports that approximately nine people die, and 100 are injured in distracted driving accidents.
With thousands of accidents caused by phone use, eating, and other behaviors, you may have suffered injuries and deserve compensation for your damages. If so, call the Seattle car accident attorneys Emerald City Law Group at (206) 973-0407, or reach out through the online form to schedule a free, initial evaluation of your case.
What is Distracted Driving?
While we often think of distracted driving as phone use while behind the wheel, there are other distractions that can cause accidents, including other passengers, smoking, or putting on qualifies as a distraction. Distractions can be visual, manual, and/or cognitive.
Use of electronic devices while behind the wheel can cause serious injury, and even death. When using a phone, every type of distracted driving – visual, manual, and cognitive – occurs. Interaction with your phone takes your eyes off the road, one of your hands off the wheel, and your mind off of driving.
You can protect yourself from distracted driving injury (and breaking Washington law) by pledging not to use your phone while driving, or participate in other distracting behaviors, which include eating, putting on makeup, shaving, and doing your hair. Safety experts recommend turning off your phone or putting it out of reach. Pull off the road, park, and then attend to your calls, texts, or emails. These practices will not only comply with the law, but also keep you from causing an accident due to distracted driving. In addition, you will be more aware of avoiding distracted drivers.
Distracted Driving Laws
Washington was among the first states to enact a strict ban on phone use while driving. Drivers must also use hands-free technology for phone conversations.
The good news is that Washington has the third lowest rate of distracted driving in the nation at 5.44%, which was an increase over the previous year’s 3.96%, according to Fortune. It appears this increase occurred despite amending the law to prohibit even holding a phone while stopped in traffic. Drivers can use one finger to activate, deactivate, or sign off a device.
Anything else can result in a $135 ticket for a first offense, and $234 fine for a second offense (if within five years of the first), plus your insurance company will be notified of the violation. You can also receive a ticket for a secondary offense involving a phone if you were stopped primarily for another violation.
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) indicates that despite the strict law, motorists are still using phones for everything from texting to playing electronic games while driving. During 2018, the WSP pulled over more than 21,000 drivers who allegedly violated the distracted driving law. Clearly, thousands of motorists are jeopardizing safety every day on area roadways.
Contact a Seattle Car Accident Lawyer for Help
Distracted drivers are responsible for serious crashes that can lead to death or life-altering injuries. You need the personal injury lawyers at Emerald City Law Group if you have been injured in an automobile accident because of distracted driving. Our highly-skilled and experienced team can navigate the legal and insurance process and fight for you to get you the compensation you deserve.