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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New Distracted Driving Law Takes Effect

Posted Sunday, August 6, 2017 by Chris Thayer

Thousands of Washington residents have signed a petition asking lawmakers to rewrite part of the new distracted driving law that recently went into effect. These individuals have taken issue with the part that makes eating or drinking and applying makeup secondary offenses (or other types of grooming, like brushing hair). Police officers can now issue $99 tickets if they determine that eating, drinking, or grooming contributed to distracted or bad driving. While police cannot pull drivers over based on a secondary offense, officers may issue tickets for such offenses if the driver is pulled over for a primary offense like speeding or texting.

*Driving While Under the Influence of Electronics*According to the National Highway Traffic Association, distracted driving contributed to more than 3,000 deaths nationwide in 2014. In fact, a study by the state Traffic Safety Commission found that almost one in 10 drivers are distracted while driving in Washington, and distracted driving fatalities increased 32% between 2014 and 2015. That is why Washington has been so aggressive in combating this problem.

Washington had already banned drivers from texting and talking on their cell phones (if using handheld devices), but the state’s new distracted driving law imposes an even broader ban. Drivers are not allowed to hold their phones at all, even if they are waiting at a traffic light or otherwise stuck in traffic. However, it is still legal to hold your phone to call 911 or other emergency services.

The ban applies to all personal electronic devices, including:

The goal is to eliminate the growing list of phone distractions that cause accidents. For example, last year two women died when their car was struck by a distracted driver. The negligent driver and her passenger were taking pictures of themselves when she crashed into the other car on Interstate 5. Police officers also noted issues with the Pokemon Go phenomenon, which has since died down, which had drivers checking the app while behind the wheel.

Police will not issue any distracted driving tickets until after the law has been in effect for six months. This delay should give drivers time to adjust to the new legal requirements.

*Examples of Distracted Driving Accidents*In 2016, a Tri-Cities woman lost her 19-year-old daughter to distracted driving. The teen was texting and posting to Facebook when she lost control of her car and crashed into an oncoming vehicle. Two others were seriously injured in the accident. The teen’s mother has spoken out about the importance of the new distracted driving law.

In 2014, a 20-year-old young man was driving to his school in Colfax when he looked down at this cell phone to write a text. In that moment he drifted across the centerline and collided head-on with a semi-truck coming around a curve. The young man, who was just a few days shy of his 21st birthday, died instantly. His grandmother is one of the people who lobbied for the new distracted driving law.

*Contact Us Today*Contact one of our personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation if you have been injured in a car accident caused by distracted driving. Our experienced attorneys can help you recover compensation for your injuries.