Distracted driving is a growing concern in the bustling regions of Seattle and Tacoma, posing significant risks to road users. It’s not just about being momentarily inattentive; distracted driving encompasses a range of behaviors, from using a mobile device to eating or even being lost in thought. The consequences of such negligence are often dire, leading to accidents, injuries, and in severe cases, fatalities. As we delve deeper into this issue, it becomes crucial to comprehend the legal ramifications and the protective measures one can adopt.

The Legal Landscape of Distracted Driving

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, distracted driving was a factor in 29% of fatal crashes and 44% of serious injury crashes in 2021. These statistics paint a grim picture of the impact distracted driving has on our communities.

In Washington state, distracted driving is a traffic violation that can result in fines, points on your license, and even jail time. The penalties for distracted driving vary depending on the severity of the offense and whether it resulted in an accident or injury.

Here’s a breakdown of the penalties for distracted driving in Washington state:

  • First Offense Fines – For the first offense of distracted driving, drivers can expect a fine. The base fine is typically around $136, but this amount can vary based on additional court fees or local ordinances.
  • Subsequent Offense Fines – If a driver is cited for distracted driving again within five years, the fine increases. The base fine for a second (or subsequent) offense within that time frame is usually about $234.
  • Impact on Driving Record – Distracted driving infractions are reported to the driver’s insurance company and will appear on the driver’s record. This can lead to increased insurance premiums

If you cause an accident or injury while driving distracted, the penalties can be even more severe. You could face criminal charges, including vehicular homicide or vehicular assault, which carry significant penalties, including imprisonment.

Safety Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving

The best way to avoid the dangers of distracted driving is to simply eliminate distractions behind the wheel. Here are some safety tips to help you stay focused on the road:

  • Turn off your phone – Silence your phone and place it out of reach while driving. This will prevent you from being tempted to check it or answer calls.
  • Use hands-free devices – If you need to use a hands-free device, make sure it is properly connected and easy to operate. Avoid fiddling with the device or taking your eyes off the road.
  • Eat and drink before or after driving – Avoid eating or drinking while driving, as these activities can take your attention away from the road.
  • Focus on driving – Avoid talking to passengers or engaging in other activities that can distract you from driving. Make driving your top priority.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. Craig Swapp & Associates has a team of experienced Tacoma car accident lawyers who can help you navigate the legal process and get the justice you deserve.

Our car accident attorneys will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of your accident, identify the liable parties, and fight to get you compensation for your injuries. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial burdens you face, and we are committed to helping you get back on your feet.

 Embracing Safety and Legal Support from Craig Swapp & Associates

The dangers of distracted driving in Seattle and Tacoma cannot be overstated. It’s a pressing issue that demands attention and action, not only from drivers but also from the legal system. While the law sets the boundaries, personal commitment to safe driving practices is imperative. In unfortunate instances of accidents, legal support becomes indispensable. Seattle personal injury attorneys at Craig Swapp & Associates offer their guidance to navigate the legal aftermath of such incidents.

Whether you are a victim seeking justice or an individual facing charges, having a competent legal team is essential. Embrace safety on the roads and know that legal support is always available should the need arise. Remember, your decision behind the wheel impacts not just your life but those around you. Stay focused, stay safe, and reach out to us today.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp