Washington Police Crack Down on Distracted Drivers - U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

Distracted drivers are traffic hazards to all of us and if you’ve been injured by one of these thoughtless people, you need to talk to an Everett car accident lawyer about your rights.

Distracted driving has become a dangerous plague on our roadways and Washington police are cracking down as part of a national awareness campaign.

The slogan for the campaign is U Drive. U Text. U Pay. and is slapping $124 fines on those they catch driving distracted.

So what is distracted driving? It’s important that you know so you don’t get stopped or, even worse, cause an accident that injures or kills another driver, cyclist or pedestrian.

Research by the CDC specifies that there are three categories of distraction while driving – visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distraction is when you take your eyes off the road. Manual distraction is when you physically take your hands off the wheel. Cognitive distraction is when your mind wanders from the focus of driving.

All of these are dangerous and any one of these types of distractions can cause an accident. Unfortunately, most of the activities drivers engage in when they should be focused on driving represent more than one type of distraction which makes it all the more dangerous.

Other types of distractions that don’t involve your cell phone include eating, applying makeup, using a navigation device, chatting with passengers or fooling with your vehicle’s sound system.

According to Distraction.gov, a US government website devoted to raising awareness and ending distracting driving, texting is the worst of all of these activities. While talking on your cell phone is a mental distraction, texting represents visual, manual and cognitive distractions. You think about your text, look away from the road at your phone to read replies and take one or both hands off the wheel to type a text. This is just asking for trouble.

According to a study by the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), at any given moment across America more than 660,000 people behind the wheel are driving distracted. Each year, nearly 3,500 people die as a result of distracted driver accidents and another 421,000 people are injured each year as a result of distracted drivers.

Virginia Tech’s Transportation Institute assessed the increased accident risk that distracted drivers pose on the roads. Interacting with your cell phone while driving triples your risk of being in an accident. They also revealed that the average span of time you look away from the road while texting is five seconds. If you’re driving 55 miles per hour, this is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field while blindfolded.

If that’s not enough to scare you, consider this – Washington’s DUI limit is .08 and studies show that distracted driving is the equivalent of a .19 blood alcohol limit. For a 180 pound person, that would equal seven drinks before getting behind the wheel. Roughly 27% of distracted drivers responsible for fatal crashes were in the twenties. This means that adults make up the majority of distracted drivers that are a roadway hazard.

More than 100 law enforcement agencies across Washington, including police and sheriff departments in Everett and other metro Seattle areas are cracking down when they see distracted drivers. For all our sakes, when you drive, just drive. If you must text, pull over to do so.

You are, quite literally, making a life or death decision when you pick up your cell phone to text, dial a number, check your email or any of the other activities you engage in with your phone.

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