According to the Washington State Department of Health, automotive accidents are the second leading cause of trauma and fatalities in Washington State. Auto accidents can be caused by numerous reasons, including but not limited to:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless driving or excessive speeding
- Severe weather or other natural causes
- Manufacturing defects
- Negligent highway design or maintenance
Among this list, distracted driving remains as one of the most common causes of auto accidents in Washington— resulting in roughly 28.5% of auto accident fatalities. WSDOT estimated that more 12,000 car accidents in Washington in 2016 were caused by distracted drivers. This includes texting or using a cellphone while behind the wheel, eating, adjusting controls, or just generally being distracted or lost in thought.
Practice Safe Driving in Washington
To prevent an auto accident, you must incorporate a high level of awareness into your driving activities. We have many reasons to avoid negligence while driving, including simple self-preservation and the safety of other motorist on the road. Building safe, distraction-free driving habits takes time, but it can save your life and others down the line.
Here are a few of our distraction-free driving tips:
- Be sure to eat, primp or perform other multitasking activities before heading out the door. Being busy or late for an appointment is no excuse for distracted driving.
- Make necessary adjustments to your vehicle and determine your route before getting underway. This includes changing the climate, mirrors and setting your hands-free GPS.
- Leave your cell phone, tablet or any other distracting objects in the backseat or trunk where you cannot easily access it.
- Limit how many passengers you have in your vehicle, as this can be a form of distraction.
- Carefully secure pets or children before hitting the road. Reaching into the backseat can easily cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
Washington State E-DUI Law
Currently, Washington has taken further steps to curb distracted driving habits by putting a new law into effect. Washington lawmakers have enacted Senate Bill 5289, also known as the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act. The new E-DUI law will impose a fine on anyone using electronics while driving in non-emergency situations. This includes traffic lights, stop signs, and other stationary periods when a vehicle isn’t in motion.
Built-in electronics, including hands-free phones, satellite music and maps, are still allowed with the minimal use of a finger. However, this is left to the discretion of the police officer. The fine is $136 for the first offense. For additional violations within five years, the fine increases to $234 per citation.
Tacoma & Seattle Auto Accident Attorneys
Ultimately, all drivers are responsible for obeying road laws and operating their vehicles safely. If a driver is found negligent in your auto accident-related injury case, they can be held liable for damages. If you were recently involved in an auto accident, schedule a free legal consultation with our Washington auto accident attorneys. No matter how big or small the accident, we can help you determine the next steps in your auto injury case.