Distracted driving is a serious issue that impacts all road users
Distracted driving is a serious issue that's on the rise, impacting drivers throughout the United States, including Washington State. This reckless behavior can have severe consequences, resulting in fatal motor vehicle accidents. Distracted Driving Awareness Month is observed in April, and it's an opportunity to raise public knowledge about the dangers of distracted driving while promoting safe driving habits.
At The Scott Law Firm, PLLC in Vancouver, WA, we understand the devastating impact that crashes involving distracted drivers can have on victims and their loved ones. Our experienced legal team is dedicated to helping victims of such accidents seek the justice and financial compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver in Southwest Washington, don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We'll work tirelessly to hold the responsible party accountable and help you navigate the process of recovering the financial compensation you're entitled to under the law.
What is the WA state law for driving while distracted?
In Washington State, it's illegal to hold your cell phone while driving, stopped in traffic, or at a stop light, with the exception of contacting emergency services. Here are the penalties for violating this law:
- A $136 fine for the first offense.
- A $234 fine for subsequent violations within 5 years.
- A $99 ticket for other distractions like grooming, smoking, eating, reading, or any other behavior that diverts your attention from driving.
Despite the law and penalties, distracted driving remains a significant problem on Washington's roads. Here are several statistics from the WA Traffic Safety Commission related to distracted driving in the state:
- Distracted driving is responsible for 30% of crash fatalities.
- Drivers who talk on the phone while driving are three times more likely to be in a crash.
- 23% of serious crashes in the state are due to distracted driving.
- Cell phone use is the primary distraction for 70% of observed distracted drivers.
According to Forbes Advisor, Washington is 7th on the list of all 50 states ranked by the percentage of fatal accidents involving distracted driving. In one recent year, 16.57% of fatal crashes in Washington State were due to distracted driving.
Understanding the types of distractions
Three main types of distractions can take a driver's attention away from the road:
- Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road, such as looking at your phone to read a text message.
- Manual distractions require taking your hands off the wheel, like adjusting the radio or reaching for something in the car.
- Cognitive distractions take your mind off driving, such as daydreaming or having an emotional conversation with a passenger.
Keep in mind that texting while driving is especially hazardous because it involves all three types of distractions. To put into perspective how dangerous texting while driving is, consider this example. At 55 mph, you're traveling at about 80 feet per second. A football field (including the end zones) is 360 feet long. The average driver looks at their phone for 5 seconds to read or send a text. In that time and at that speed, you would travel a distance greater than the length of a football field without looking at the road ahead.
Talk to an experienced Vancouver, WA car accident lawyer
At The Scott Law Firm, PLLC, we're dedicated to helping those in Vancouver and Southwest Washington who have been injured by the negligence of distracted drivers. With decades of experience and a track record of success, we're committed to holding distracted drivers accountable and helping our clients recover the compensation they deserve.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving accident, we're here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation at our Vancouver office. During this consultation, we will review your case, answer your questions, and provide the guidance you need to move forward. In addition, we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no fees unless we win your case. You can trust us to fight for your rights.