Washington’s new distracted driving law went into effect on July 23, which means drivers will now get a ticket for being on the phone or holding any electronic device while behind the wheel. According to a Fox news report, state troopers say they will hand out warnings for six months. However, if a trooper decides the actions of a driver warrant a ticket, they could write one under the new law. Smart phones are more prevalent in today’s society than ever, and as such, car accidents caused by distracted driving have gone through the roof. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Massachusetts car accident lawyer.
What Does The New Law Mean For Washington Residents?
Basically, it means drivers may not use hand-held cell phones while driving, when stopped in traffic or at a stoplight. Under this law, “electronic devices” include tablets, laptops, games or other hand-held devices. Drivers are also prohibited from watching movies while behind the wheel and hands-free use is limited to one touch or swipe. The ticket, known as an E-DUI, will cost $136 on the first offense and about $234 on the second.
Violations will also be available to insurance companies. As part of this law, drivers can also get a $99 ticket for other types of driving distractions such as grooming, smoking, eating or reading if the activity interferes with safe driving, and if they are pulled over for another offense. Two-way radio, citizen band radio or amateur radio equipment are not part of the law.
How Serious Is Distracted Driving?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one out of every 10 fatal crashes in the United States involves distracted driving. This adds up to more than 3,000 deaths each year. Distractions take a motorist’s attention away from the act of driving, which can cause a driver miss important events, objects, and cues or cause him or her to lose control of a vehicle, all potentially leading to a crash. Distracted drivers put themselves, and everyone else on the road, at risk.
While any type of activity that takes a driver’s attention away from driving can be dangerous, cell phones and electronic devices pose a much greater risk. Studies have shown that any type of cell phone use roughly quadruples crash risk. With one out of every 20 drivers using a handheld cell phone at any given time, it is a significant factor in road safety. Many believe that hands-free phones are safer than handheld phones. Several research studies conclude that hands-free cell phones offer no significant safety benefits over handheld phones. Hands-free doesn’t necessarily mean risk-free.
Call Our Firm Today!
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of an auto accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization and pain and suffering. The experienced Rhode Island car accident attorneys at d’Oliveira & Associates help victims of car accidents obtain maximum compensation for their losses. Let us focus on your case, while you focus on recovery. Call 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form online for a free, comprehensive and confidential case consultation.