According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers during 2014. The problems associated with young distracted drivers are even more serious. In a report released recently by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. NHTSA says that this age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes.
Washington State is Serious About Distracted Driving
For years now, Washington State law enforcement officials have been cracking down on those who drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but state officials are increasingly just as serious about distracted driving. That is due, at least in part, to a report by the Washington State Department of Licensing that says a driver talking on a cell phone is as impaired as a driver with a 0.08 blood-alcohol level, and a driver who is texting is as impaired as a driver with a 0.16 blood-alcohol level – twice the legal limit.
Washington Has a Number of Distracted Driving Statutes “On the Books”
Because the incidence of distracted driving appears to be rising dangerously, the Washington State legislature has passed a number of provisions into law prohibiting or restricting a number of activities while behind the wheel, including the following:
- Use of a wireless communications device – such as a cell phone. According to RCW 46.61.667, a driver cannot even put a phone up to his or her ear while driving – even if stopped in traffic. There are a few exceptions though, including calling for help in an emergency.
- Watching TV while driving [see RCW 46.37.480]. Did we have to be told this one? Note, however, that a driver may look at the image displayed on his or her vehicle’s backup camera.
- Using headsets or earphones that muffle or exclude other sounds. RCW 46.37.480 also prohibits this.
- Reading, writing, or sending a text message [see RCW 46.61.668]. In the time it takes you to read a short text message, you’ve likely driven the length of a football field. Would you willingly do that blindfolded? There is virtually no difference.
- Embracing while driving [see RCW 46.61.665]. While this one may bring a smile to your face, the law is real. State troopers indicate they rarely give this ticket if the couple is just hugging. Amorous drivers should, however, be aware that operation of a motor vehicle in violation of this section is prima facie evidence of reckless driving.
Have You Been in an Accident Involving a Distracted Driver?
Have you been injured in a car accident (or other accident) causing serious personal injuries? Recovering your damages, whether in the form of medical bills, lost time from work, and/or pain and suffering usually requires the services of a skilled legal team. At Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S., we know that this is a stressful time, and we are committed to your full recovery – physical, mental, emotional, vocational, and financial.
Note, however, that there are strict time limits for filing a lawsuit against those who caused your injuries. If you wait too long, you may recover nothing. We promise to work with you personally from start to finish, taking you through the processes, from claim to arbitration or trial, promptly responding throughout to your questions and concerns. We work in a collaborative environment, with attorneys and staff working together to find solutions for you. You benefit from the experience of not just one attorney, but all the attorneys at Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S. With personal injury claims, we don’t get paid until and unless you recover. For assistance in handling your personal injury claim, contact us on the web, or call our office at 253-272-2997.