Distracted driving can be defined by many things. In literal terms, it is the act of taking your eyes off of the road, physically removing your hands from the steering wheel as well as cognitive distraction where you are not thinking about driving a vehicle while you are operating a vehicle. Some examples could be the split second it takes to look at the radio to change the radio station. Eating or drinking your favorite food is also considered to be distracted driving. It could be the driver looking at an accident that has occurred and now is pulled off to the side of the road.
Of course the biggest and most talked about type of distracted driving is driving while using a cell phone or texting while driving a motor vehicle. According to Distraction.gov in the State of Washington has what is called a primary law which is where an officer can pull you over for violating texting while driving or cell phone use while driving where there is not another traffic violation occuring at the time of the stop.
Texting While Driving
Texting and driving is prohibited in the State of Washington. Texting while driving according to RCW 46.61.668 states a person operating a noncommercial vehicle who uses an electronic device to send, read, or write a text message is guilty of the traffic infraction. It is important to understand if you are texting while driving and are found guilty of the infraction, the infraction is considered a non-moving violation. You will be required to pay the required penalty fee for the infraction, however the infraction should not appear on your driving record. If you are driving a commercial vehicle, however, according to WAC 308-104-160, if you are found guilty of texting while driving, the infraction is considered a moving violation and will appear on your driving record.
Cell Phone Use While Driving
Driving while using a cell phone is also prohibited in the State of Washington. According to RCW 46.61.667 a person operating a motor vehicle while holding a wireless communication device to their ear is guilty of the infraction. If found guilty of this infraction, you will be required to pay the required penalty fee for the infraction, however according to WAC 308-104-160 the infraction is considered a non-moving violation and should not appear on your driving. However, if you are driving a commercial vehicle, if you are found guilty of cell phone use while driving, the infraction is considered a moving violation and will appear on your driving record.
According to the Center for Disease Control more than 9 people can be killed a day because of distracted driving as well as 1153 people be injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2013 10% of all drivers between the ages of 15 to 19 old involved in fatal crashes report that they were distracted at the time of the crash.
What You Can Do
Each driver has a responsibility to be alert and aware while driving. If we all decide to make a conscious effort to put down the cell phone while driving, we could have major impact on the statistics and reduce the amount of injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving.
Give us a Call
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of receiving an infraction for texting while driving or cell phone use while driving, please don’t hesitate to give Rick a call. He is an experienced traffic attorney and has been handling traffic violation cases since 1992.
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