We like to assume that drivers on Washington roads are being as safe and attentive as possible. However, distracted driving behaviors persist, jeopardizing the safety of drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians alike. While glancing at a smartphone or sending a quick text may be tempting, especially when you’re stuck in traffic, these behaviors can increase your risk of collision and injury. To get a better understanding of the prevalence of distracted driving in Washington state, let’s take a quick look at how common it is, what the risks are, and what to do if you’re injured in an accident involving a distracted driver.
What the Numbers Say
According to a 2019 report by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 2015 saw the highest number of fatalities involving a distracted driver. That year, distracted driving was linked to 171 deaths statewide. While that number has fallen slightly in recent years, the total number of fatalities associated with distracted driving exceeds 100 per year. Between 2013 and 2019, there were approximately 560 serious injuries involving a distracted driver that were reported each year. Overall, there were around 16,000 auto crashes reported each year that may have involved a distracted driver, many of which are suspected but not confirmed. It’s evident that distracted driving is a pervasive problem in Washington, as it is across the nation.
A Common Problem
While many people may deny that they are distracted drivers, the numbers show a different picture. According to the 2018 AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index, more than half of drivers surveyed reported talking on a hand held cell phone (52.1 percent), while nearly half reported reading texts or emails while driving (41.3 percent). Nearly one-third responded that they composed texts or emails while behind the wheel. However, over 95 percent of drivers claim that they view such behavior to be very or extremely dangerous behind the wheel. Taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds can double your risk of a crash, according to a 2006 study, so even a quick glance at your phone can dramatically endanger yourself, your passengers, and others on the road.
Steps to Take Following an Accident Involving a Distracted Driver
If you have reason to believe that the accident was caused by a distracted driver, it’s essential that you contact local law enforcement so that a police report can be made. Share your suspicions with the responding officer, and they will look into the matter. In the meantime, assess yourself for injuries and seek medical attention. As you focus on your recovery, it’s worth it to contact an experienced auto accidents attorney who can help you understand your options for pursuing and obtaining compensation.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident in the Vancouver or Battle Ground area, the dedicated and friendly personal injury attorneys at Henderson Taylor Law Firm are here to help you explore your legal options. Call (360) 737-1478 today to get started.