Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. Distracted driving is dangerous and is the cause of many thousands of deaths and injuries each year.
“In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.”
What Is Distracted Driving?
There are many kinds of distracted driving. Examples of distracted driving include texting, cell phone use, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, using a navigation system, watching a video, and adjusting the car stereo. We all know that cell phone use while driving is an issue everywhere and that cell phone use is responsible for many instances of distracted driving. Washington State has passed a law that prohibits certain uses of cell phones while driving. The specific statute is at RCW 46.61.667, and states as follows:
“Using a wireless communications device or hand-held mobile telephone while driving.
- Except as provided in subsections and of this section, a person operating a moving motor vehicle while holding a wireless communications device to his or her ear is guilty of a traffic infraction
- Except as provided in subsection and of this section, a person driving a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in RCW 46.25.010, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays, while using a hand-held mobile telephone is guilty of a traffic infraction. For purposes of this subsection, “driving” does not include operating a commercial motor vehicle with or without the motor running when the driver has moved the vehicle to the side of, or off, a highway and has stopped in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.”
This means that police will pull you over if they see you holding a phone to your ear or texting while driving. The fine is $124.00 and can be more if you cause a crash. Drivers with an Instruction Permit are not allowed to use any wireless communication device, regardless of whether it is hands-free, while driving unless there is an emergency. (RCW 46.20.055.)
The United States Government has put out a lot of scary but important statistics about distracted driving. For instance, “Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.”
Washington State’s Traffic Safety Commission has also put out a lot of information regarding distracted driving. Some of that information is available at the King County Public Health website. Within those reports is the information that:
“From 2008 to 2012, distracted driver-involved crashes accounted for at least 20% of all traffic fatalities in King County, killing 86 people (average 17 people each year) and seriously injuring an additional 338 people. Reporting of driver distraction has decreased recently without a corresponding drop in distracted driving behavior, so the true proportion of distracted driver-involved crashes is under review at the state level.”
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident caused by distracted driving, contact our team of experienced auto accident attorneys for help obtaining coverage for your personal injury claim.