State laws that prohibit teens from distracted driving behavior such as texting result in fewer deaths, according to a recent study.
Doctors conducted research to find out if laws focusing on distracted driving among teens work. The study, titled Distracted Driving Laws and Motor Vehicle Crash Fatalities, found much lower car crash death rates in states with primary texting bans (a police officer may cite a driver for illegal cellphone usage without any other offense taking place).
States with secondary laws prohibiting cellphone use while driving have experienced a decline in fatalities, but not as significant. (Secondary law means a police officer can only cite a driver for distraction if the driver was pulled over for some other offense).
Types of distracted driving
Cellphone distraction is one of the top types of distracted driving behavior among teenagers. They might use their phones to send or read text messages. They also might check social media or open apps to surf the internet.
Teens also engage in other forms of distractions that can put them at risk of causing a car accident. Distraction and driver inexperience can be a fatal combination. Here are a few common types of distractions:
- Other people in the car
- Vehicle entertainment systems
- Activity taking place outside the vehicle
- Eating, drinking, grooming
According to a Forbes report on the teen driving study, states with any type of distracted driving law saw deaths among 16- to 19-year-olds decrease over a 10-year period (from 2007-2017). States with primary laws experienced more significant decreases in deaths compared to states with secondary laws.
In Seattle and throughout the state of Washington, it’s illegal to hold a cellphone while driving. Hands-free use is allowed.
Researchers say any type of cellphone use while driving (even hands-free) is dangerous, particularly for teenagers.
Serious injuries and distracted driving
Distracted driving accidents unfortunately happen every day in Seattle. In some cases, accidents involving cellphone use result in serious injuries and death. Some of the serious and life-altering injuries include (among other types):
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Injury to the spinal cord resulting in paralysis
- Broken bones
- Damage to internal injuries resulting in bleeding
- Facial injuries resulting in scarring or disfigurement
If you are involved in an accident, call 911. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if you think the injury is minor, symptoms can get worse in the days after the crash. If you are able to do so, take pictures of the accident scene and of your injuries. Ask for the other driver’s contact and insurance information. It's also a good idea to speak to witnesses and take down their contact information.
How can a Seattle car accident lawyer help?
In cases involving injury, you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Distracted driving car accident cases can become complicated. The insurance company may try to downplay your injuries. The other driver may deny that texting or other distractions were a factor.
Let our experienced attorneys help. At Nelson Langer Engle, PLLC, we’ve seen the devastating impact of serious accidents. We help our clients fight for maximum compensation and work aggressively to make sure the negligent driver is held accountable. Contact us online today for a free consultation.