Distracted Driving Accidents in Washington
A simple allegation that another driver was distracted is not enough to prove that distracted driving caused the car accident. If the police officer suspects that a driver is alcohol-impaired, the officer can have the driver take a breathalyzer test. If the intersection has red light cameras, you can verify whether a driver ran a red light. But how can you prove that the other driver was not giving his full attention to the road and that his distraction caused the wreck?
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, whether you think that distracted driving played a role in it or not, call the attorneys at Max Meyers Law, PLLC today at 425-399-7000. Our Washington auto accident attorney offers free consultations for motor vehicle accident victims.
How to Prove Distracted Driving Caused the Wreck
We use many ways to prove that the other driver was not paying as close attention to the road as they should have been. They include any of the following:
- Cell phones - The police will check the cell phones of people who have crashed to see if they had apps open or were talking or texting at the time of the wreck. The officer may confiscate the phone as evidence of distracted driving.
- Cell phone records - If the evidence is not on the cell phone, your lawyer can subpoena the records of the other driver’s cell phone service provider to prove that the driver was not giving the road her full attention.
- Car data - Many newer cars contain technological advances geared toward safety. Some of these gadgets keep a record of essential safety information, such as how fast the car was going or whether someone was fiddling with the stereo or navigation system controls just before the accident.
- Fellow Passengers - A passenger of the negligent driver may testify that the driver was engaging in improper conduct while driving, especially since the driver’s behavior exposed that passenger to the risk of harm.
- People in other vehicles - Unfortunately, we frequently see drivers in other cars texting and doing other dangerous acts while driving. You do not have to be in the car to see this behavior. We can interview drivers and passengers of other vehicles who may have seen the driver from your accident focused on things other than driving.
- Other eyewitnesses - Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and bystanders may have seen the driver driving recklessly before the accident. We do not limit ourselves to asking only drivers and passengers what they saw. Other eyewitnesses can provide compelling testimony.
- Security camera footage - With more closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras going up all the time, we can trace back the route the driver took to see if there were security cameras that might have captured valuable video evidence of distracted driving. We will contact the owner of the security camera and request the footage to see if it contains useful evidence.
- Accident reconstruction experts - In some cases, we use accident reconstruction experts to show the court that the only explanation for the accident was the driver not paying attention to the road.
What Constitutes Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in any behavior that takes his mind off of the road. Distractions can include:
- Talking on the phone, even in hands-free mode
- Adjusting the stereo
- Using the navigation system of the car or a map or navigation app on the driver’s cell phone
- Talking with passengers in the front or back seat of the vehicle
- Reading – yes, people do read books and other things while driving
- Taking photos or videos
- Singing or dancing to music
- Checking email
- Using apps, such as Facebook, messaging, games, Netflix, and music apps
Who is Most Likely to Drive While Distracted?
Driving while distracted is a common problem for everyone, but statistics suggest that it is a larger problem for some groups than others.
- People stuck in traffic jams - Insurance industry experts suggest that during periods of heavy traffic congestion, people are more likely to use their cell phones to call people, send text messages, and read their emails. And with Seattle’s horrible traffic congestion, people have many opportunities to be distracted. So, when you are stuck in heavy traffic, stay alert to what the drivers around you are doing.
- Teens – The Automobile Club of America (AAA) says that teen drivers are the most distraction-impaired drivers on the road. A study by AAA found that teen drivers are not paying attention to the road about one-fourth of the time. Even when the teen turns her attention back to the road, it takes about 27 seconds for her to be fully engaged in driving. A lot can happen in 27 seconds. A car going 65 miles an hour will travel over 2,500 feet in 27 seconds. That distance is more than eight football fields.