On May 10, 2021, Karley Cecil was driving northbound on I-5 in Tacoma. She was also scanning her Facebook page to see who had liked or commented on her latest update.
With her eyes off the road, she failed to notice that a man had stepped into the right-hand lane where she was driving. Kyang Park had pulled off the freeway’s shoulder and gotten out of his car to inspect a flat tire. In an instant, the 78-year old was struck and killed.
We all know that we should not text and drive. But what are the distracted driving laws in Washington State? And, what happens if your distracted driving injures someone, or worse? Let’s look at answers to these common questions.
Every year, thousands of people are impacted by distracted driving crashes across Washington.
The table below shows how many distracted driving related crashes happen in Washington State.
|Distracted Driving Crashes
|Cell Phone Related Crashes
|Distracted Driving Serious Injuries
|Cell Phone Related Serious Injuries
|Distracted Driving Fatalities
|Cell Phone Related Fatalities
This information was gathered from data publicly available through the Washington Department of Transportation. Nationwide, distraction was a factor in 8% of all motor vehicle collisions in 2019. This is an increase of almost 10% from the previous year.
Washington has a couple of distracted driving laws you should know. We’ll sum up the key points from each, but we encourage you to click through to read the full laws.
It’s important to stay informed of changes to Washington’s laws as they can change at any time.
Yes. There are a few exceptions where the use of a cell phone while driving is permissible.
Remember, you cannot use your phone to send a text or check social media while you are stopped at an intersection. If you really need to check your messages, pull off the road somewhere safe.
Here are the penalties for distracted driving in Washington:
However, a ticket may not be the only financial impact you face from distracted driving.
It’s possible that a cell phone ticket could affect your insurance premiums. When you get a distracted driving ticket in Washington, that information becomes available to your insurance provider the same way that a speeding ticket would.
The impact may be greater if you are a new or teen driver or have prior infractions on your record.
If you hit someone while driving distracted, you will be financially responsible to pay for the victim’s medical bills, property damage, pain, and suffering. Additionally, you may be ticketed and worse yet, you could face criminal charges.
Let’s revisit the story of Karley Cecil, who struck and killed a pedestrian while texting and driving. In her case, she was charged with vehicular manslaughter, a felony. A vehicular manslaughter conviction could bring many life-impacting consequences, such as:
Having a crime like this attached to your public record may make it difficult for you to find work, housing, or form new relationships.
To sum it up, there are many potential consequences for texting and driving, from injuring an innocent person to facing criminal charges. The cost is never worth it. Please, don’t text and drive.
If we’ve convinced you to stop texting and driving – good! Here are a few ideas for how to break the texting and driving habit:
Commit to doing whatever it takes to kick this risky behavior.
Have you been injured in a distracted driving collision? Our car accident attorneys are always here to offer a free case review. Every day, we answer questions from victims who have been in collisions. There’s no obligation or risk, so please reach out to our team today.