We live in a time when everyone is constantly online, checking their cell phones, or posting on social media, even when driving (if you find that hard to believe, search for posts tagged #DrivingSelfie, #SelfieWhileDriving, or #IHopeIDontCrash on Instagram). Despite the temptation of checking your phone on the road, it is a serious and dangerous traffic offense, now even more serious in Washington. If you are injured by someone using their phone while driving, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer, who can prove that the other driver hurt you while driving distracted.
It seems like common sense to disconnect from your phone while driving, but according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 660,000 drivers are using handheld phones (to talk, text, play games, or post on social media) at any given moment during daytime hours, and nearly 10% of all drivers are using cell phones at any given time of the day.
Distracted driving because of cell phone use has become a serious public health threat, often with fatal consequences. The National Safety Council estimates that about 25% of all motor vehicle crashes involve cell phone use at the time of the crash.
The use of cell phones while driving, even with hands-free phones, causes what researchers call “inattention blindness,” in which drivers don’t process everything on the road that they need to process in order to respond to unexpected situations. A number of states, including Washington, have passed laws making it illegal to use a handheld cell phone while driving. However, these laws give the false impression that using a hands-free phone or device is safe. It is not.
On July 23, 2017, a new went into effect in Washington that completely bans the use of phones, tablets, laptops or gaming devices while driving. Now, if someone is found driving and using a phone for any reason, the new statute describes it as a serious traffic violation equivalent to reckless driving or going 15 mph over the speed limit.
Though the problem of distracted driving might be alarming, the remedy is simple: put away the phone when you are driving, and pay attention to your surroundings. Posting a selfie might seem tempting, but remember that you risk your own safety and the safety of others.
Have you or a loved one been injured by a distracted, negligent or reckless driver? Our personal injury lawyers have over 75 years of combined legal experience in personal injury claims and driving-related injuries. At Kadish Twersky, a Seattle personal injury firm, we fight to get you the compensation you deserve.