Dog in Driver’s Lap May Have Contributed to Fatal Accident

Investigators suspect that a woman who died in a head-on collision on the Key Peninsula in October may have been distracted by a dog on her lap, according to a report by the News Tribune. The woman was driving on Route 302 when her car crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with another vehicle, investigators said. A mother and daughter in the second vehicle were injured. The dog also was killed.

Washington State Distracted Driving

Much news reporting has been devoted to the issue of distracted driving, usually when it involves the use of cellphones, navigation devices and other electronic equipment. But other activities can also be dangerously distracting. In fact, distracted driving was among the leading causes of vehicular crashes long before cellphones became commonplace. Other common driver distractions include:

  • Eating
  • Grooming
  • Talking to passengers
  • Calming a baby in a vehicle
  • Watching other accidents on the roadway
  • Sightseeing
  • Paying attention to animals in the vehicle

In a survey by AAA in 2010, 20 percent of respondents admitted that they allowed pets to sit on their laps while they are driving and 31 percent said that their animals created a distraction. Not surprisingly, states are starting to consider legislation relating to animals in vehicles. Hawaii already forbids drivers from holding animals on their laps, while other states have general laws relating to distracted driving that can include a pet. Washington State does not have a criminal law that relates to pets as a form of distracted driving. However, someone who is injured in an accident caused by a driver holding a pet may have grounds for a lawsuit asserting negligence on the driver’s part.

Talk to a Washington State Car Accident Attorney

If you have been injured or lost a family member to a Washington State distracted driving crash, you could be entitled to compensation. Whether the cause of the distraction was a pet or something else, distracted driving is negligent driving. The Yakima Valley area car accident attorneys at Mariano Morales Law can help you get through the legal process and make sure that the party responsible for your injuries or loss is held accountable. Contact the team today by calling (509) 853-2222 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.