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Distracted Driving Study: How Does Washington Stack Up?

Updated on: 10/7/2021

Curious how Washington State stacks up nationally for distracted drivers? Everquote, an online insurance marketplace, has that data.

Everquote took information gathered during 2.7 million car trips over 230 million miles by users of its EverDrive app between April 2016 and March 2017. The app uses smartphones to detect speeding, as well as signs of distraction such as phone use and sudden stops, turns and acceleration.

The study found that phone use – otherwise known as distracted driving – occurred in more than two out of every five (38 percent) trips taken. Washington had the 17th best drivers in the country, and when it came to phone use behind the wheel, ranked 17th, with 35 percent of drives containing at least one distracted driving event.

Everquote cited a recent study by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, which found more than 50 percent of crashes occurred after the driver had used a phone. Additionally, those drivers were distracted for an average of 135 seconds before the crash.

The Top 5 States For Distracted Driving

1. Vermont
2. Minnesota
3. Oregon
4. New Hampshire
5. Connecticut 

The Bottom 5 States For Distracted Driving

46. Idaho
47. Mississippi
48. Tennessee
49. Florida
50. Louisiana

As you can see, Southern drivers use their phone the most while driving. Nearly half of all trips (41 percent) that Southern drivers logged included phone use while driving, compared to drivers in the Midwest (37 percent), Northeast (35 percent) and West (34 percent).

Distracted Driving in Washington Causes Serious Accidents

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, 12,314 car accidents were attributed to distracted driving in 2016. Distracted driving accidents amounted to roughly 199 serious personal injuries and 77 fatalities. But remember, these numbers may be on the low end as people generally don’t admit that they were on their cell phone just prior to their accident.

Washington’s New Distracted Driving Law

On July 23, 2017, a new distracted driving law went into effect in Washington State. Drivers are not allowed to hold electronic devices such as phones in their hands at all while they are on the road. The fine for a first offense is $136; subsequent fines rise to $235.

In the week before Washington’s new distracted driving law went into effect, state police “contacted” - issued warnings or citations - 273 drivers. The following week, 337 drivers were contacted. 

Beginning in 2018, no warnings will be given to drivers who hold their phones.  

Contact An Attorney After A Distracted Driving Accident

If you were injured in an accident in Washington State, the car accident lawyers at Davis Law Group, P.S., will investigate your case, and may help you obtain the compensation you need. For a free case evaluation with a Davis Law Group attorney, please call us at (206) 727-4000, use the chat feature below or fill out the form on this page to get started.

Image: Everquote

Chris Davis
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Chris Davis is the founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, WA.
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