Cell Phones & Texting

Last Updated on Friday, 20 February 2015 16:43

Driving is a complex task that requires a driver’s full attention.  While you may feel confident in your ability to operate a motor vehicle and multitask at the same time; understand that a driver’s biggest threat on the roadway is other drivers and unexpected obstacles.  Other drivers are unpredictable and cannot be relied upon to follow the rules of the road and unexpected obstacles are just that; unexpected.  When you multi task behind the wheel, you are limiting your ability to anticipate the action of other drivers and the unexpected.  Many drivers are simply unable to multi task and safely operate a motor vehicle.

DISTRACTED DRIVING contributed to 758 (25.8%) deaths between 2004 and 2008 in the State of Washington.  In 2009, preliminary numbers show distracted driving contributed to 160 deaths, 32.5% of the total number of traffic related deaths for the state of Washington in 2009.   NHTSA reports that 5,474 people were KILLED and 448,000 people were INJURED in 2009 in collisions that involved distracted driving.  http://www.distraction.gov/research/PDF-Files/Distracted-Driving-2009.pdf

Washington law makes it illegal for “a person operating a moving motor vehicle while holding a wireless communications device to his or her ear”.  Washington law also prohibits a person from sending, reading, or writing a text message while operating a moving motor vehicle.  While there are a few exceptions to the law, like summoning for medical or law enforcement assistance, a violation of the law can result in a id=mce_marker24 ticket. (RCW 46.61.667 & RCW 46.61.668)  People who violate these laws could potentially be ticketed for negligent or reckless driving, a crime.

On September 12, 2014, twenty-year-old Samuel Thompson of neighboring Colfax, WA was killed in an automobile accident on Highway 195.  Investigation revealed that Sam was sending a text message at the time that his vehicle collided with oncoming traffic.  In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, Sam's parents, Jim and Lisa Thompson, hope to increase awareness about the lasting impact of distracted driving.  Click here to view their message. Click here to view their website.