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Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P.

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where wrongs are made right


Office Location

4701 S 19th St #300,
Tacoma, WA 98405

How Distracted Driving Leads to Accidents in Washington State

Tacoma attorneys warn that risky behavior leads to liability for damages

Because much of a person’s busy life is spent behind the wheel of a car, motorists often make poor choices about multitasking when they should be focused on safe driving. At Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P., we’ve represented countless victims of distracted driving accidents. We know the permanent toll that a moment’s inattention can take on an innocent life, and we support our state’s efforts to reduce incidents of distracted driving.

Common distracted driving behaviors that lead to accidents in Washington

Too often, we forget that a passenger car, even traveling at a moderate speed, has enormous destructive potential. If only foresight had the clarity of hindsight, drivers might refrain from these risky activities:

  • Applying makeup
  • Eating or drinking
  • Changing CDs or radio stations
  • Changing clothes
  • Checking phone messages or email
  • Entering data into a GPS device
  • Reaching for an object
  • Shaving
  • Using social networking sites
  • Taking “selfies”
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Talking to passengers
  • Texting
  • Watching videos

Statistics show that engaging in hand-eye tasks increases the risk of a car accident by up to three times.

Statistics on distracted driving urge caution

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distraction pays a major role in fatal accidents. Nationwide, the number of people killed in distracted driver crashes was 3,360 in 2011 and 3,328 in 2012. The government estimates that in 2012, distracted drivers injured 421,000 people up from approximately 387,000 people injured in 2011.

Distracted driving is especially prevalent among young drivers. For drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in fatal accidents, 11 percent were reportedly distracted and 21 percent of these were distracted by cell phones.

How evidence of distraction helps establish liability

In most cases, allowing yourself to become distracted while driving is negligence and makes you responsible for the harm that occurs. If you’re in an accident, there are ways to document that the other driver was distracted. Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P. attorneys use subpoena power to obtain cell phone records to determine if the driver was talking on the phone or sending a text at the time of the accident. You can also make note of any statements on the part of the driver or passengers, such as “I only took my eyes off the road for a second” or “I told you to watch where you were going” to establish negligence. These types of “admissions against self-interest” or “excited utterances” are exceptions to the hearsay rule and can be admitted as evidence in court, even if the speaker later denies them.

Talk to our Tacoma accident attorneys about your distracted driver accident

If you were in an accident with a distracted driver, Rush, Hannula, Harkins & Kyler, L.L.P. can help you establish negligence so you can recover compensation. Ask one of our seasoned trial attorneys to evaluate your case. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 253.250.4516 or contact our office online.