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Imagine you are driving down a busy a highway. There are cars all around you, changing lanes, slowing down, speeding up, merging and exiting. Now imagine you close your eyes and take your hands off the wheel while driving the length of a football field. This sounds extremely dangerous, doesn’t it?

Well, unfortunately, it happens all the time on Washington roads when drivers get distracted by their cellphones or other activities. Sadly, hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. are hurt or killed in distracted driving crashes every year. Still, people fail to recognize why distraction is so dangerous.

To understand the risks of this behavior, it can be helpful to know the different types of distraction, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Cognitive distraction (you are not paying attention to driving)
  • Visual distraction (you are looking at something other than the road)
  • Manual distraction (your hands are off the wheel)

When you do something like pick up your cellphone to send a text, read an email or scroll through your call history to make a phone call, you are engaging in all three forms of distraction. You’re eyes and hands are on your phone, and you are thinking about what you are doing, writing or reading on your phone.

Despite the fact that every driver should know about the risks associated with distracted driving, many of them do it anyway. They think that they can take their eyes, attention or hands away from the road and the task of driving without consequence.

But there are consequences when it comes to cellphone distraction in Washington. Not only can drivers be ticketed for using a handheld phone or texting, they can also be held accountable for any damages they cause in an accident if a civil claim is filed.

If you have lost a loved one in a crash caused by a distracted driving, it can be crucial that you discuss your case and your legal options with a personal injury attorney. While money and legal accountability cannot undo an accident, they can help you and your family find some closure and secure the resources you need to recover.