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In the age of social media and the obsession with staying plugged in (or is it an addiction already?), distracted driving has now become the new drunk driving. Car accidents involving intoxicated drivers are no longer the most devastating ones, as motor vehicle crashes caused by distracted drivers have become even more likely to lead to catastrophic injuries and multiple fatalities.

Yes, this is the new reality we have to live in. As electronics, new iPhones, and new internet trends become more and more inescapable for an average American, it’s becoming very difficult to “unplug” and put away your cell phone, even when you are driving.

“Unfortunately, many drivers struggle with paying attention to the road and not checking their phone every 5 minutes to see if there has been a new notification,” says our Seattle distracted driver accident attorney from Russell & Hill, PLLC. “However, what many seem to forget is that cell phone use is not the only type of distracted driving out there. Yes, it’s the most common one nowadays, but engaging in other distracting activities can be just as dangerous.’

What is considered distracted driving in Washington?

U.S. law defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” It’s not just sending a text, reading a text, talking on the phone, or watching a video on your smartphone. Distracted driving also includes the following activities:

  • Putting on makeup
  • Combing one’s hair
  • Other grooming activity
  • Eating or drinking
  • Checking GPS or reading maps
  • Changing a radio station
  • Having a conversation with a passenger
  • Adjusting lights or mirrors
  • Getting distracted by pedestrians or other surroundings
  • Getting distracted by an object in the side window
  • Adjusting heat or air conditioning
  • Searching or reaching for something inside the vehicle
  • Dealing with an insect or animal inside the vehicle and
  • Reacting to activity in the back seat

As you might have noticed from this non-exhaustive list of the most common forms of distracted driving, all of these can be broken down into three types:

  1. Manual (require the driver to take his or her hands off the steering wheel)
  2. Visual (require the driver to take his or her eyes off the road) and
  3. Cognitive (require the driver to take his or her mind off the road)

Fact #1: Texting while operating a vehicle has been compared to driving through a football field at 55 mph while blind.

Fact #2: On average, a text message takes the driver’s full visual attention for 4 to 6 seconds. That’s 4 to 6 full seconds of having no idea what’s going on in front of your vehicle!

Seeking compensation after a car accident caused by a distracted driver

Whether or not you will be compensated for your injury caused by a distracted driver depends on whether you can prove that the other motorist engaged in an activity that distracted him or her from operating the vehicle safely. In Washington state, it has been illegal to hold an electronic device such as a cell phone, tablet, smartphone, or other gadgets while driving since July 2017.

Our experienced distracted driver accident attorney in Seattle explains that Washington state law only allows “minimal use” of a finger on an electronic device (for example, a quick tap to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function).

If you have been injured in a car crash caused by a distracted driver, you may want to consult with a skilled lawyer regardless of the type of activity that distracted the driver. You will most likely need legal help to prove that the driver acted negligently, as it’s very unlikely that the motorist will admit his or her fault after the crash. Our lawyers know how a life can change in an instance just because someone decided to send a meaningless text full of emojis.

Contact Russell & Hill, PLLC, to get a free consultation today. Call our offices at 206-880-7703 to discuss your case.

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