Distracted driving is a serious problem on roadways throughout Washington, oftentimes leading to serious car accidents and injuries for victims. It is important for victims to know the laws in Washington state related to distracted driving and texting while driving as well as the legal protections available to them if they have been harmed by a distracted driver.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission data reports that the number of car accident deaths caused by distracted driving are increasing. In Washington, distracted driving accounts for 30% of car accident fatalities and 23% of serious car accident injuries. Another important fact to note about distracted driving is that driving while using a cell phone increases the risk of a car accident as though the driver were drunk. In addition, one in four car accidents involves the use of a cell phone prior to the car accident.
Observation surveys conducted in the State of Washington found that one in 10 drivers are distracted. Of distracted drivers, 70% were observed to be distracted by cell phone use. There are three types of distracted driving including visual distraction (where a motorist takes his or her eyes off the road), manual distraction (where a driver takes his or her hands off the wheel and cognitive distraction (where a driver loses focus on driving). Texting and driving is considered the most serious form of distracted driving because it combines all three types of driver distraction.
In Washington, holding a cell phone while driving is prohibited, and doing so may be considered negligence if the distracted driver causes a car accident that results in injuries. A personal injury claim for damages can help hold a distracted driver accountable and help victims seek the compensation their physical, financial and emotional damages.