One area teen was killed and three others injured this month when the car they were in collided with a dump truck. The crash happened around 3:30 in the afternoon on May 5 in the city of Newport, about an hour north of Spokane. More vehicles were at the scene, but no others were directly involved.
According to reports, the crash took place when the car, driven by one of the teens, came upon a line of vehicles stopped for a school bus on northbound Route 2. The driver could not stop in time and veered across the center line into the path of a southbound dump truck. One passenger in the car died at the scene while the driver and the other two passengers were transported to a local medical center with undisclosed injuries. The truck driver was not injured.
The crash is still under investigation, but the initial report from the Washington State Patrol lists the cause of the crash as “inattention.” That word might bring to mind several possibilities: Most people are aware of the recent nationwide plague of crashes caused by distracted driving, such as using a smartphone or other device while behind the wheel.
But we shouldn’t jump to conclusions about the specific factors involved. The truth is that there are many types of distraction and inattention. The collision database kept by WSP lists ten different categories of distraction (such as eating, adjusting the radio, or talking with passengers) as possible contributing circumstances to a crash—inattention is a separate category altogether.
Crashes due to inattention and distraction have become all too common. In fact, WSP’s records list a minor crash between two passenger vehicles (causing no injury) with this same cause just two miles from this fatal accident hours earlier on the same day.
The latest data haven’t been analyzed yet, but crashes have been up in recent years. In March, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that from 2011 to 2015 between 387,000 and 431,000 people were injured each year in crashes that could be blamed on distracted driving. In the worst of those years, 34,000 crash injuries were specifically blamed on cell phone use. Fatalities, sadly, are believed to be up even more sharply, last year hitting levels not seen in a decade and possibly the largest two-year jump in more than fifty years. Distraction is assumed to be a major factor in this rise.
It doesn’t matter if a crash was caused by distracted driving, inattention, or some other factor. When you’ve been injured in a car crash, you need a capable attorney on your side to help you win the compensation you’re entitled to so that you can recover from your injuries and get on with your life.
Craig Swapp & Associates understands automobile accident law, and we offer a free consultation to every client. Give us a call today at 1-800-404-9000 or contact us online through the form below to schedule yours. You can also launch the LiveChat feature from any page of this website for quick answers to many of your questions.