Driving fatalities have risen 6% since 2015, topping at 40,000 on US roads in 2017 alone. Tragically, that equals more than 10 deaths every single day. Distracted driving is a contributor to those rising numbers, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. To bring attention to this growing problem, the National Safety Council has established April as National Distracted Driving Month.
Few drivers want to admit that their devices have become a distraction in their cars. But hands-free, hand-held, and in-vehicle devices and technology distract drivers. Drivers do not have to be holding their device to be distracted. Simply seeing messages appear, listening to calls or messages, or hearing vibrations from a device can deter a driver's attention from the road. Research statistics indicate that drivers who text while behind the wheel, even at red lights or when stopped in traffic, are twice as likely to be involved in crashes on roads.
Stay Safe! Five Tips to Stay Safe and Avoid Distractions While Driving in Washington
- Turn your phone off! Turn off any other electronic gadgets such as tablets and games, too. Without them alerting you, you will be less tempted to pick them up or look at them.
- Choose a designated texter. One passenger will be in charge of answering incoming calls, sending/receiving texts, or navigating the GPS.
- Download an app that will alert others when you are driving and will tell them you areunable to accept notifications. These apps also can block audible notifications.
- Practice safety to others by refraining from calling or texting someone you know is driving.
An “E-Free” Car Is Not Only Smart, IT'S THE LAW in Washington
E-DUI is now a “thing” in Washington. In other words, if you are influenced by electronics while driving, you may be cited and fined. Last July, Washington legislature made it unlawful to use your phone or other devices while behind the wheel, even if you are in traffic, at a red light, or otherwise stopped while behind the wheel. The law includes tablets, lap tops, games, or other devices that require more than a single touch to operate. The law also provides for a secondary citation for smoking, eating, grooming, or some other activity while driving. If pulled over for something else and are found to be doing any of these things, you could be cited.
National awareness months are good reminders to learn new habits. If you find yourself frequently using your smart phone while driving, this could be a good wake-up call for you. Citations cost $136 for a first E-DUI offense. While it may seem less dangerous than driving while intoxicated, driving distracted can be just as serious. If you have been charged with DUI or an E-DUI and need legal advice, contact Karimi Law today. We can help by providing sound, legal counsel to get the best results. Call today.