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Smoking while driving may be a distraction

Health professionals have long foretold the dangers of smoking. Many smokers know that the habit can affect their lungs, teeth and heart, but at least it doesn't hurt anyone else - or so they may believe. What many people don't realize is that smoking can also be a hazard on the road.

Smoking might not seem like it involves as much distraction as texting, for example, but it is still a manual distraction at least. While holding a cigarette or joint, drivers may take their hands off the wheel repeatedly. Opening, lighting, and extinguishing it may also distract a driver for the few split seconds it takes to cause a fatal crash.

Back in July of this year, new Washington laws began to restrict more activities while driving, such as eating. However, these laws did not prohibit smoking. Instead, if a police officer pulls you over for a driving error, they could fine you for smoking if they believe it led to your mistake.

Some substances may be more dangerous to smoke than the average cigarette. As marijuana becomes legal for medical care in many parts of the U.S., drivers are wondering what increased access means for road safety. Washington law, while not limiting cigarettes, does restrict smoking marijuana (medical or otherwise) while driving because it impairs the user's ability to operate the vehicle.

Although accidents from cell phone or alcohol usage are much more common than those from smoking, any crash from negligent driving can be devastating. When you or someone you love is injured by an irresponsible driver, an attorney can help prove liability and seek justice.

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