UW study finds 8% of drivers distracted by cell phones

accident caused by cell phone It doesn’t take a university study to tell me that we have a big problem with texting and driving. Every afternoon when I walk my dog, I observe driver after driver talking on their cell phone, looking at their cell phone and texting. Yesterday in the QFC parking lot, a woman had a difficult time parking because, not only was she talking on her cell phone, but she had her dog in her lap.

No doubt about it, many Washingtonians are doing everything but paying attention to their driving and the road ahead as they motor down Washington’s streets and highways. This has lead many to call distracted driving a “dangerous epidemic.” It is estimated that in 2011, more than 3,000 Americans were killed in accidents in which driver distraction was a factor.

According a University of Washington study, 8% of motorists are distracted by their devices. The study observed 7,800 who were driving through intersections in six of Washington’s counties. Almost 50% of the drivers of the distracted drivers were observed texting.

The Washington State Patrol in King County have been conducting cell phone emphasis patrols over the last month and a half and ticketing drivers using cell phones, texting or were otherwise distracted. In the six week period, they issued 1,100 citations for using cell phones and 180 citations for texting

“Despite the warnings in the media, we still found a lot of drivers without their full attention on the road. This special campaign is over but officers and troopers continue to be on the lookout for cell phone violations.”

— Lt. Mike Rupert of the Washington State Patrol.

Washington state passed a texting ban in 2007 and bans all kinds of electronic devices from being used by teen-aged drivers. A violation of the law results in a $124 fine. The fine can go higher if the distracted driving resulted in a motor vehicle accident.

Despite the bans, the WSP says that many track backups are caused by drivers who are distracted because they are texting or reading data on their cell phones. According to WSP Chief John Batististe, “We think texting is a factor in far more of these minor collisions than we’ll ever be able to prove.”

If you’ve been involved in an accident caused by an inattentive driver, you may be able to file a claim for negligence against that driver. With the help of a personal injury attorney, you can seek compensation for your damages including medical costs, rehabilitation costs, loss of wages and for pain and suffering.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

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