The Yakima Valley distracted driving attorneys at the Mariano Morales Law Firm know that a collision on the roadways of Washington State can occur for any number of reasons. Distracted driving, however, has emerged over the last decade as one of the most prevalent reasons for car accidents throughout the country, and Washington State is no exception. Careless drivers often cause accidents in Washington when they are distracted by cell phones, texting and other high-tech devices. Even things like eating, smoking, talking to passengers, adjusting the radio or looking at a map can lead to a distracted driving crash.
If you have been the victim of a car accident related to any form of distracted driving, contact the Washington State distracted driving accident lawyers at the Mariano Morales Law Firm for a free initial consultation. Call us now toll free at (509) 972-0493 or fill out our online contact form.
We represent injured people in Yakima, the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco and Kennewick), Wenatchee, Grant County and Chelan County.
What Causes Yakima Distracted Driving Accidents?
Distracted driving is a term that refers to a wide range of activities that cause drivers to take their eyes, ears, hands or minds off the road while behind the wheel. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15 people are killed each day and another 1,200 injured as a result of distracted driving.
Historically, things that caused a driver to drive distracted were activities such as eating, grooming or talking to another passenger while driving. While those forms of distracted driving are still common, a new hazard has emerged in recent years as a primary cause of distracted driving — the cell phone. Whether handheld or hands-free, talking on a cell phone diverts the driver’s attention from the task at hand. Texting is even worse than talking on a cell phone while driving. Texting increases the risk of having a crash by 23 times, according to a federal study. In a single month in 2011, Americans sent 196 billion text messages which reflected a 50 percent increase from just two years prior. As the use of cell phones has increased over the last decade, so has the risk of a driver being distracted by them.
Why Are Cell Phones So Dangerous To Use While Driving?
Experts have made a comparison between drinking and driving and texting and driving, with many espousing the belief that texting is actually the more dangerous of the two. The popular magazine Car and Driver conducted its own small test to see whether driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 (the legal limit) or driving while texting caused the driver to react slower. The results of the test showed that the driver who was texting had a significantly slower reaction time than the driver who had been drinking.
Using a cell phone while driving combines all of the possible reasons a driver becomes distracted by taking a driver’s eyes, ears, hands and mind off of driving all at the same time. Most drivers intrinsically know that cell phones are a risk to the roadways. In a recent poll completed by AAA, 1 out of 3 drivers say they feel less safe driving today than they did five years ago, and 3 out of 10 specifically pointed to cell phone use as the reason.
The sheer frequency of cell phone use also creates a greater risk to the driving public. According a recent study, 25 percent of drivers admit that they regularly talk or text while driving, with a significantly higher percentage admitting that they frequently or occasionally talk or text while driving. When you combine the frequency of use with the fact that a driver’s eyes, ears, hands and mind can all be taken off of the road when a cell phone is used, the danger to other motorists on the roadways of Washington State goes up markedly.
Washington’s State Laws Regarding Cell Phone Use While Driving
As a result of the campaign to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving, and specifically driving while using a handheld device, many states have legislated complete or partial bans on the use of any handheld communication device. Washington State is one of the states that has implemented a complete ban on handheld devices, meaning that a motorist cannot legally talk or text on a handheld cell phone while driving. Novice drivers cannot use any type of cell phone, including hands-free phones.
Of course, this does not always prevent drivers from talking on cell phones while driving. However, it does increase the penalty if a driver is caught and it makes a driver who is driving while taking or texting more likely to be found negligent if he or she is involved in a car accident in Washington State. Even if a motorist was not charged with breaking Washington’s cell phone law, they could still be held responsible for causing an accident if the evidence shows that their cell phone use was a factor in the crash.
Injured By A Distracted Driver? Call Our Yakima Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you have been involved in a Washington State accident and you believe that distracted driving played a part in the accident, contact the Yakima distracted driving attorneys at the Mariano Morales Law Firm for a free initial consultation. Call us now toll-free at (509) 972-0493 or fill out our online contact form.