Study Finds Washington State’s Drivers are Still Distracted by Cell PhonesOne out of every 12 drivers in six major counties in Washington State are still using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving, according to a distracted driving study conducted statewide. A news report in The Seattle Times states that the recently released study, which also shows that half of all drivers text while driving, is the first of its kind.
The study was conducted by the Injury Prevention and Research Center at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Researchers say texting is the worst form of distraction for drivers because it takes the driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and attention away from the act of driving.
As part of the study, researchers were dispatched this summer to randomly observe the habits of 7,800 drivers at intersections in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Spokane, Yakima, and Whatcom counties. They found that 8.1 percent of the drivers were using electronic devices and nearly half of those were texting. Legislators in Washington State banned the use of handheld mobile devices and text messaging three years ago, making it a primary offense – which means that a motorist could be stopped by law enforcement just for distracted driving.
Texting and driving impairs a driver much like drunk driving. Recent studies show that sending messages while driving increases crash risk by 23 times. Texting and driving is similar to driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.19 percent – more than twice the legal limit in Washington State.
This is an important, eye-opening study for all of us in Washington State. While we may believe that the new laws relating to distracted driving may have reduced the number of distracted drivers, this study proves that the assumption may be wrong. It is important to remember that distracted driving is negligent driving. If you cause an accident while driving distracted, you can be held financially responsible for the injuries and damages in addition to possibly facing citations or criminal charges.
If a distracted driver has injured you or a loved one, please contact an experienced Seattle car accident lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.