Distracted driving is everywhere on Washington roadways. The majority of drivers - even those who are usually responsible - may become distracted at some point. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), roughly 481,000 drivers use handheld devices while driving during daylight hours.
However, distracted driving goes beyond the use of handheld devices behind the wheel. Many people give themselves less time to get to and from work or take care of daily tasks. This lack of time spills over into our roads - and often results in serious accidents.
Busier schedules mean more multitasking
Many drivers send texts or check social media apps while their vehicles are in motion or while stopped at traffic lights. They might eat their breakfast or drink their morning cup of coffee during their commute.
Unfortunately, this behavior is becoming the new norm - and is a driving force behind the high rate of traffic accidents nationwide.
Distracted driving is often a contributing factor in:
- Rear-end collisions during traffic jams or at traffic signals
- T-bone accidents at intersections
- Head-on collisions on winding rural roads
- Accidents with pedestrians and bicyclists at crosswalks
What's even more frightening about distracted driving - drivers who do it never think they'll cause a crash. Some drivers are so apt to engage in multitasking behind the wheel because it's something they've been doing for a long time.
However, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah found that those who felt the most confident multitasking weren't actually able to do it safely. Participants included 310 undergraduate students who underwent a series of questionnaires and tests that measured:
- Ability to multitask
- Perceived ability to multitask
- Ability to use a cellphone while driving
- Ability to use other various electronic media
- Impulsivity and sensation-seeking
Roughly 70 percent of participants believed their ability to multitask was above par, yet their ability to do so demonstrated otherwise.
Psychology professor, and senior author of the study, David Sanbonmatsu stated, "Our data suggest the people talking on cell phones while driving are people who probably shouldn't. We showed that people who multitask the most are those who appear to be the least capable of multitasking effectively."
Drivers in the State of Washington are no different. A recent study conducted by the University of Washington concluded that more than 8% of drivers text or use other electronic devices while driving. According to Dr. Beth Ebel, head investigator of the study and then-Director of UW Medicine's Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, the "findings [show] distracted driving is more common than we thought."
Dr. Ebel further noted that previous studies showed texting while driving increases the risk of a crash by 23 times. That risk is similar to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.19, more than twice the legal limit; in other words, texting while driving can be just as dangerous as getting behind the wheel while severely intoxicated.
Hire an attorney you can trust. Call Colin Scott.
No matter how confident a driver may be when it comes to multitasking, it only takes a split second to turn someone else's life upside down.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, it's important that you consult with an experienced Vancouver, WA auto accident attorney as soon as possible. If your injuries from a car accident are severe enough to require medical treatment and time away from work, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible for causing the crash.
Expenses can add up: medical bills, lost wages (past and future), pain and suffering. You should never be forced to pay out of your own pocket because of someone else's careless behavior.
You'll need a skilled legal expert on your side who knows how to investigate distracted driving accidents. In the end, it's not just about the money. It's about holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions and helping injured motorists seek justice.
Count on Colin in a crisis. Contact the Scott Law Firm, PLLC today to learn more about how we can help you.