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Distracted Driving Awareness Month Aims to Reduce Traffic Fatalities in Washington State

Man using a smartphone while driving a car.

In Vancouver and throughout Southwest Washington, distracted drivers pose a significant threat on our roads, often causing severe car accidents. Recognizing the severity of this issue, April has been designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month both in Washington State and nationwide.

Led by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), efforts are underway to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. In Washington, the Washington State Police (WSP) is spearheading a statewide initiative to combat distracted driving accidents, according to a KHQ News report.

In the wake of a distracted driving accident, it's crucial for victims to understand their legal rights and options. Seeking guidance from an experienced car accident lawyer can provide invaluable support and assistance in pursuing justice and accountability.

Distracted driving is a problem in Washington State

In 2022, Washington State witnessed a tragic milestone, as a record-breaking 750 individuals lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents, marking the highest single-year total since 1990, as reported by The Spokesman-Review. Among these fatalities, 100 were attributed to distracted driving incidents in the state.

Preliminary data for 2023, reported by Axios Seattle, suggests a further increase in car accident fatalities, with an estimated 813 deaths recorded. Early estimates indicate that 23 percent of these fatalities were caused by distracted driving, potentially resulting in 186 deaths attributable to distracted driving in Washington in 2023.

What is Washington doing to prevent distracted driving?

As part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Washington State Police is employing a two-pronged strategy focusing on education and enforcement to curb distracted driving accidents in the state.

Efforts are underway to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, with a special emphasis on texting while driving.

Furthermore, drivers in Washington State should be prepared for heightened enforcement measures. Any infractions, including texting while driving or violating other distracted driving laws, may result in drivers being pulled over by law enforcement officers.

Does Washington State have distracted driving laws?

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Washington State's distracted driving laws include:

  • No reading, writing, or sending a text message while driving.
  • There is a hand-held cell phone ban while driving. Drivers using a cell phone while driving must use a hands-free operating system to control their cell phone while driving.
  • School bus drivers cannot use a cell phone for any reason while driving in Washington State.
  • Drivers with a learner’s permit cannot use a cell phone for any reason while driving.

Tips to avoid distracted driving

Avoiding distracted driving is essential for ensuring road safety. Here are some tips to help you stay focused while driving:

  • Put your phone away: Keep your phone out of reach or use a hands-free device if you need to make a call.
  • Don't text and drive: At 55 mph, reading or sending a text message is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
  • Plan ahead: Set your GPS and adjust your music before you start driving to minimize distractions.
  • Take breaks: If you're feeling tired or restless, pull over in a safe area to stretch and refresh yourself. Tired drivers are more prone to losing focus when behind the wheel.
  • Avoid multitasking: Focus solely on driving and avoid activities such as eating, drinking, or self-grooming while behind the wheel.
  • Stay focused: Keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on driving at all times.

Hit by a distracted driver? Count on Colin Scott

Claims involving distracted drivers can be complex because proving distraction as the cause of an accident often requires thorough investigation and evidence gathering. Unlike other forms of negligence, distractions like cell phone use or inattentiveness may not leave a clear physical trace, making it challenging to establish liability.

Additionally, insurance companies may try to downplay the role of distraction or shift blame onto other factors to minimize payouts. As such, having a car accident lawyer who understands the nuances of distracted driving cases and knows how to build a strong case is essential for pursuing fair compensation.

At The Scott Law Firm, PLLC, in Vancouver, WA, we understand how to navigate distracted driving cases and are committed to helping crash victims seek the justice and compensation they deserve. With our knowledge, experience, and dedication, we work tirelessly to hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions.

If you've been injured in a distracted driving accident in Southwest Washington, don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

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