Distracted driving may take many forms in Washington state. Anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road is a distraction and causes distracted driving. However, the biggest issue of this kind, according to the Insurance Information Institute, is distraction from cell phone use. This problem is very large in that it is responsible for about 9% of all fatal crashes in the country. This, in turn, leads to criminal charges against drivers.

Although most drivers see using a cellphone as a serious danger when driving, 77% of drivers still use their cellphone for calling while driving and 44% use it for texting or emailing while driving. Most people who admit to using a cell phone while driving say they do so because they believe it could be an emergency that cannot wait.

When it comes to how distracted driving affects a criminal case, it is usually evidence against a person facing a criminal charge due to an accident, according to the Traffic Resource Center for Judges. However, it may also come into play as a way to charge a third-party for the incident.

Some cases allege that the person calling or texting a driver is responsible, at least in some part, for any accident that may result from the distracted driving. While many cases do not win in court, some have. It depends on the circumstances. If a person texts or calls another person knowing that person will reply or answer the phone, some courts see that as being liable for the distraction of the driver.

Distracted driving is fast becoming a normal part of motor vehicle accident cases because it is such a prominent issue. In many cases, when the prosecution shows a driver was distracted at the time of an accident, it means a conviction for the defendant.