Seattle Car Accident Attorney Encourages Safer Driving During Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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Although Washington has some of the strictest laws in the nation against talking on a cell phone or texting while driving, greater awareness and stronger enforcement are needed, Seattle car accident lawyer Dean Brett says.

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Seattle personal injury attorney Dean Brett

I’m proud to say that our state has some of the strictest laws in the nation against talking on a cell phone or texting while driving, but we need to make sure that we enforce those laws.

The state of Washington needs to continue to take the lead in the battle against distracted driving, especially when it comes to talking or texting on a cell phone behind the wheel, Seattle personal injury lawyer Dean Brett said today.

“I’m proud to say that our state has some of the strictest laws in the nation against talking on a cell phone or texting while driving, but we need to make sure that we enforce those laws,” said Brett, speaking at the outset of national Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

“We also need to continue to raise public consciousness about the dangers of distracted driving, especially among teen drivers,” said Brett, a founding partner of Brett & Coats, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, a Seattle personal injury law firm that represents car accident victims and their families throughout King County and surrounding areas.

“Drivers need to realize that every time they talk on a phone or try typing a message onto a tiny keyboard, they’re exposing everyone else on or near the road – and themselves – to the risk of an accident, injury or death. It’s truly reckless.”

Brett said that distracted driving has joined speeding and drunk driving as the greatest causes of auto accidents in Seattle and across the country.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5,474 people were killed and 448,000 were injured in car crashes involving distracted driving in 2009 alone.

A study by the Virginia Tech Driving Institute found that motorists who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in an accident, while the National Safety Council estimates that at least 28 percent of all traffic accidents are caused by drivers using cell phones and texting.

In response to this growing threat, Washington’s legislature passed a law in 2010 that raised talking on a hand-held cell phone or reading, writing or sending text messages while driving from a secondary to a primary offense, meaning drivers can be pulled over for the violation.

The state’s lawmakers also enacted a ban on any form of cell phone use – hand-held or hands-free – by drivers in the learner or immediate stages (generally ages 16-18).

“These laws showed our state’s recognition that certain distractions lead to dangerous driving,” Brett said. “When you’re talking on a cell phone, for instance, it may cause you to miss a red light or stop sign, fail to brake, drift across lanes or hit a bicyclist or pedestrian on the side of the road.”

Brett said his law firm’s concern lies with victims of distracted driving and their families. If a person is injured or killed in an accident caused by a distracted driver, the victim or family may be entitled to recover damages through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, he said.

“Distracted driving can lead to tragic consequences for everyone involved,” Brett said. “When you consider those consequences, it just makes sense: Put down the phone, focus on the road.”

About Brett & Coats

Brett & Coats, Personal Injury Attorneys, PLLC is a Seattle personal injury law firm with offices in Tacoma, Bellingham and Spokane as well. The firm represents car accident victims, including those injured in DUI/DWI accidents, and other personal injury victims throughout the state of Washington. The firm’s practice areas also include motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, boating accidents, construction accidents, railroad collisions and aviation crashes. For more information, call the firm at (800) 925-1875 or use its online contact form.

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