By Pendergast Law on February 2, 2015
Under current Washington State law, you cannot text or hold your phone up to your ear to make a call while driving. However, you can talk while holding your phone away from ear. There are several gray areas regarding using your phone for reasons other than sending a text or making a call. A new bill recently introduced in the state Senate, however, aims to clear up the gray areas and close the loopholes.
According to a recent news report in the Seattle Press Intelligencer, if the new bill passes, it would eliminate all handling of cell phones while behind the wheel. In fact, drivers in Washington will not even be allowed to touch their phone at a stop sign or red light. The goal of the law is to deter all forms of phone related distracted driving. It will outlaw typing and reading emails, sending instant messages, pulling up websites, and entering phone numbers. The new potential law will, however, allow drivers to call 911 to report criminal activity. Drivers will also be able to use GPS devices as long as they are secured in a hands-free way.
The law increases the penalties for using the phone while driving as well. Current phone-related infractions cost Seattle drivers $124. If the new bill becomes law, that fine will double if the driver is a repeat offender within a five-year period.
It is important to pass and enforce distracted driving laws because driving while distracted is extremely dangerous. If your hands are off the wheel, your eyes are off the road or your mind is not focused on traffic, you could miss your opportunity to avoid a crash. Many accidents are avoidable when you are completely focused on driving.
Distracted driving is a form of negligence. So, if a distracted driver hurts you, you can pursue financial compensation from his or her insurance provider. Distracted drivers can be held accountable for damages, such as current and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, the cost of rehabilitation services, and other related damages. In such cases, an experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer can help protect your rights and hold the at-fault parties accountable.