Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

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Driving Under the Influence of Electronics

Posted Friday, August 24, 2018 by Chris Thayer

Alternative TextLast year, Washington passed a law that makes it illegal for drivers to use cell phones and other handheld electronic devices, even when they are stopped at a red light. It is called the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (or E-DUI) law.

Distracted driving is dangerous and causes hundreds of thousands of injuries every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In fact, a study by the state Traffic Safety Commission found that almost one in 10 drivers are distracted while driving in Washington. Distracted driving fatalities also increased 32% between 2014 and 2015. The state passed the E-DUI law last year to discourage drivers from (and punish them for) using a cell phone while behind the wheel.

Violating any kind of traffic law is evidence of negligence, including the E-DUI law. If you are injured by a distracted driver – and that driver was cited for driving under the influence of electronics – you can prove that you are entitled to personal injury damages.

Is the E-DUI Law Working?

The King County Target Zero Task Force conducted a survey to see if the new law has changed driving behaviors. According to the survey, drivers are still confused about what behaviors are prohibited. For example, many people think they can look at their phones while stopped in traffic, but even holding your phone is illegal (one of the few exceptions is calling 911).

Between July 2017 and July 2018, Washington drivers received more than 27,800 E-DUI citations, according to the Washington Administrative Offices of the Courts. At least 9,676 of these citations came out of King County. However, this is not the full story. Those numbers do not include Seattle Municipal Court or part of Spokane Municipal Court.

Clearly distracted driving is still an issue in Washington. With distracted drivers comes car accidents, property damage, personal injuries and untimely deaths.

Specifics of the E-DUI Law

Washington had already banned drivers from texting and talking on handheld cell phones, but the under the E-DUI law drivers can not even hold their phones at all. This rule applies anytime you are behind the wheel, even if you are stopped at a light or stuck in traffic. (You can still call 911 or seek other emergency services.)

The ban applies to all personal electronic devices, including cell phones, tablets, laptops, two-way messaging devices, and electronic games.

You can also get in trouble for eating, drinking, or grooming (like brushing your hair or applying makeup) while behind the wheel. These are secondary offenses, meaning you will not get pulled over for eating a sandwich, but you can get a ticket if the police officer determines that you were distracted by these activities.

Again, a distracted driving citation, even for eating or drinking, is also evidence of negligence.

Contact Us Today

Contact one of our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation if you are injured by a distracted driver. Our experienced attorneys will guide you through the litigation process, and help recover the compensation that you deserve, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

(image courtesy of Alexandre Boucher)