If you have been involved in a car accident and believe the other driver may have been distracted, contact us for a free consultation. We are experienced attorneys who have represented clients in Spokane, Spokane Valley and beyond since 1948.
What is a distracted driver?
A distracted driver is somebody who is focusing his or her attention on something other than driving. The distraction might be changing CDs, grooming, dialing a phone number, talking on a phone, looking at an Instagram feed, or texting.
Are distracted driving accidents common in Spokane or Washington?
According to the National Safety Council, using a cell phone contributes to 1.6 million traffic accidents every year. Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than driving while drunk. It accounts for about 25 percent of all accidents in the United States.
The first study in Washington State to look at driver use of electronic devices took place in 2013. Investigators from the University of Washington found that nearly 10 percent of all drivers who were distracted were using electronic devices while driving. Of those, 45 percent were texting, and of those who were found to be talking on a hand-held cell phone, half of them were found to be holding their phone either near or below the level of the steering wheel. It’s believed that the texting while driving issue is grossly under-reported. That’s because after a collision, people just won’t admit that they were using a cell phone at the time of the crash.
In 2007, Washington was the first state to pass a texting while driving law. After that, it passed a primary enforcement statute for hand-held mobile devices and texting. Primary enforcement means that a police officer doesn’t need to have another reason like speeding for pulling you over. In one King County seat belt enforcement campaign, more tickets were written for texting and driving than for failure to use a seat belt.
Aren’t cell phones banned in Spokane?
Both texting and the use of a hand-held cellular telephone while driving are illegal everywhere in the State of Washington, not just Spokane and Spokane Valley. The only exceptions are if you are:
- Operating an authorized emergency vehicle or tow truck and responding to a disabled vehicle
- Reporting illegal activity
- Calling for emergency assistance
Use of a hands-free device like a speaker phone, headset or earpiece is permitted. Those driving on a learner’s permit and novice drivers are barred from any cell phone use whatsoever.
What if I’m in an accident, and I’m injured by a distracted driver?
If you were injured by the negligence of a distracted driver, or if a member of your family was killed as a result of the carelessness of a distracted driver, you have the right to file a lawsuit against that person. One case would be a personal injury case, and the other would be a wrongful death case. Both are governed by the law of negligence.
Some of the damages that the law permits include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a normal life
- Any permanent disfigurement
- Any permanent disability
- Funeral and burial expenses in the event of a wrongful death
Contact an attorney
The injuries and deaths attributable to distracted driving are nearly 100 percent preventable. If you were injured by the carelessness and negligence of a distracted driver, or if a family member died as a result of that misconduct, contact us right away for a free consultation and case evaluation. We are experienced car accident attorneys, here to help you.