A high percentage of the population lives a wired life, seemingly always connected to their mobile devices. The rise of cell phone usage and mobile technologies have enhanced life in some respects, but it also has led to a marked increase in distracted driving accidents.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), an estimated 20 percent of crashes involved talking on a cell phone in 2010 – that’s more than 1 million crashes. Those who are involved in car accidents related to cell phone use may be able to recover compensation for the damages they suffer.
The Danger of Driving while Using a Cell Phone
There are two factors that make cell phone usage while driving such a danger: prevalence and crash risk. Talking on a cell phone increases the risk of crashing fourfold, the NSC found. This means that if you talk or text while driving, you have a four times greater risk of crashing, getting injured, dying, and/or injuring and killing others.
Granted, other distractions can be just as dangerous as or even more so than using a cell phone while driving. Reaching for an object rolling around in the car means a nine times greater risk of crashing, reports the NSC. However, that’s only one part of the equation. How often people engage in these distracted behaviors is the other. For instance, relatively few people put on make-up while driving, and some drivers only occasionally reach for an object on the floor.
But many people do use cell phones behind the wheel. Even hands-free phones may be dangerous. The NSC reviewed the literature on hands-free devices and concluded that “hands-free phones offer no safety benefit when driving.” Drivers may have their eyes technically on the road, but not actually be aware of their surroundings. Drivers using hands-free phones “look but fail to see up to 50 percent of information in their driving environment,” according to the NSC, citing previous research. This is a state of distraction referred to as “inattention blindness.”
Washington’s Cell Phone Laws
Washington is actually a pioneering state in terms of cell phone legislation.
- Texting: It was the first state to adopt a texting ban.
- Hand-held devices: It has strict laws on using a hand-held mobile device; nobody is allowed to use one while driving.
- Primary Offense: Using a phone while driving is a primary offense in Washington, which means a police officer can pull you over for simply for catching you using one.
Filing a Claim against a Distracted Driver Who Caused an Accident
Another implication of using a cell phone with driving is liability. Drivers who are distracted by talking or texting while driving can be legally liable for damages if they cause an accident and hurt someone. Victims will be able to file a claim or lawsuit against these negligent drivers, who may have to compensate victims for damages.
Those harmed may file a claim or lawsuit to recover compensation for their medical bills, lost wages due to time away from work while recovering, and even pain and suffering. A lawyer can help victims of cell phone-related accidents prove cell phone use and distraction via evidence. This might include eyewitness testimony, video surveillance and even cell phone records. To review the types of evidence that might be available, consult an attorney at Ron Meyers & Associates PLLC.
Legal Help for Cell Phone-Related Accident Victims
If you or your loved one were injured in car accident in Olympia involving a cell phone and distracted driving, call our injury lawyers at Ron Meyers & Associates PLLC. Contact our office today for a free, no-obligation consultation: 844-920-2438.