With the huge amount of distracted driving accidents that happen each year nationwide, I have to wonder if the Washington State cell phone laws that have been put in place are really effective. As a Seattle personal injury attorney working at a Renton wrongful death law firm, I have seen the effects of an auto accident caused by a distracted driver and I know that no text or phone call is worth another person’s life.
A study done by Temple University that was recently published in the June issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, looked at all the distracted driving laws that have been passed in different states between 1992 and 2010. They found that the state by state the laws varied based on the type of mobile device, the driver (i.e. age or type of license) and locations of mobile device use. Instead of having a general law against using a cell phone while driving, all the differences in the state laws make it very confusing for drivers. In some states the laws are different depending on what city you are in.
Today, 39 states have passed laws that regulate the use of cell phones while driving, but because they vary so greatly in content and penalties they also have varying degrees of effectiveness. Researchers from Temple University plan to use the information gathered to pinpoint exactly what portions of the laws are most effective which would help lawmakers understand what laws are needed to actually reduce auto accident caused by distracted driving.
Any use of a cell phone while driving is extremely dangerous and can cause any number of auto accidents that lead to serious personal injuries or even the wrongful death of an innocent victim. I think that this study has shown that we need much tougher laws with consistency across state and even city lines.