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New campaign to curb texting while driving in Washington

Thanks to a recent public safety campaign featuring Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson, Seattle residents may be increasing their awareness and understanding of the dangers of texting while driving. The likelihood of getting into an accident increases by 24 times when a person tries to send a text message while driving.

An inattentive driver poses a threat to every other person sharing the road, and the nearly universal ownership of cell phones these days has provided a source of distractions like none seen before. According to a recent study, the potential for distraction and the risk of a motor vehicle accident only increases further when people upgrade to smart phones. The concerns associated with texting while driving have increased to such a level that the Washington Traffic Safety Commission recently applied for federal transportation money to fund a statewide anti-texting marketing campaign.

Even though Washington state law makes it illegal to text while driving, the fine does not increase with multiple violations, so the threat of traffic citations alone may not be enough to drive home the message that texting while driving is unacceptable. The state's public safety campaign plans to emphasize the fact that drivers can be ticketed for texting behind the wheel, but that message may not resonate with every driver on the road.

Every year, cell phone use accounts for pedestrian accidents and traffic deaths that should never have happened. A driver who injures others while using a cell phone has not simply violated traffic laws. That careless driver has changed the lives of others in ways that may have a permanent impact. Washingtonians injured by a texting driver should be aware that they may be entitled to compensation under the law and should consider contacting an experienced personal injury professional as soon as possible after an accident in order to preserve their legal rights.

Source: KPLU, "Do you text while you drive? You're not alone.," Paula Wissel, Dec. 10, 2012

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