In the US, seatbelts have been required in passenger cars for decades and the CDC has reported that they have saved roughly a quarter-million lives since 1977[1]. However, there are mass-occupancy vehicles that use our roadways daily that do not require seatbelts for all passengers.

The primary example of this is the school bus. While required by regulation in some states and jurisdictions, there is no Federal mandate for seatbelts on school buses. While legislation has been proposed[2], there is no school bus seatbelt requirement in Washington State.

A poll conducted by the National Education Association’s NEA Today magazine reported that 53% of respondents favored seat belts compared to 47% who were opposed[3]. However, the NEA outlines the main concerns, often expressed by bus drivers themselves, as follows:

  • Student use of belt buckles as weapons, causing injury to themselves and/or others.
  • Inability to enforce proper usage of seatbelts.
  • Difficulty evacuating panicked students in case of an emergency.

Since it is not uncommon for a bus driver to be solely responsible for large groups of students, these factors have carried a lot of weight in the ongoing discussion about the role of seatbelts on our nation’s school buses.

Most municipal city buses also do not require their passengers to wear seatbelts, nor require them as an option, and there have been studies of rail transportation that may support the aforementioned bullet-point about compromised ability to evacuate during an emergency[4].

On May 23, 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board announced a recommendation to implement seatbelts on all new school buses[5]. As more and more states enact or consider seatbelt requirements for large buses, we can expect more data points and studies to ensure we as a society are making the safest choices possible.







Given the state of vehicle safety in today’s world, driverless vehicles are a promising technology. Since 1946, there have been over 30,000 motor vehicle deaths per year in the United States alone, and during that time there was an 8-year span where deaths exceeded 50,000 people annually.[1] Given these numbers, even small changes to vehicle safety can make a meaningful impact.

Considering a human driver only has two eyes and ears and is prone to distraction, enabling a vehicle with multiple cameras and impressive computing power holds the potential to save thousands of lives each year. However, studies have shown that not only are most Americans afraid of self-driving technology, but some of these fears may be well-founded.

According to a new survey by AAA, 71% of Americans say they are afraid to ride in a self-driving car. AAA asserts that these fears are likely related to the highly publicized deaths in recent years involving driverless technology.[2]

Further, researchers at Georgia Tech have discovered that self-driving AI systems struggle to identify pedestrians of varying skin tones at equal rates. The research suggests that changes during the initial learning may be needed to mitigate what they call “predictive inequity”.[3]

Seeing the impact of vehicle-related personal injury, changes are needed to improve the safety of both drivers and pedestrians. It is also important to keep in mind that new technologies present new challenges that also must be addressed to ensure human safety and right to life.



Many residents of the greater Seattle community may believe that speeding is just an ordinary course of business when driving upon a Washington roadway.  But, please think again.  While although many may equate speeding as a run of the mill traffic violation, it can easily kill.  A recent death in Renton unfortunately reinforces this…all too well.

Tragic Renton Crash

Police authorities and firefighters responded to an accident scene in Renton at approximately 5:40 a.m. on the morning of December 3rd.  The scene was located on Puget Drive South at Benson Road South.  Respondents raced to the scene after receiving a report of a serious accident.

Once upon the scene, respondents found a silver 2014 Lexus lying on the vehicle’s side.  The auto was discovered down a wooded embankment along a curve in the road.  The male driver of the vehicle was found dead inside the Lexus.

Thus far, preliminary investigations have found that the driver of the auto had been driving erratically just prior to the crash.  Reports indicate that he was weaving in and out of traffic at dangerously high speeds.  Once the driver reached the curve near the intersection of Benson Road and Puget Drive, he completely lost control of his vehicle.

As a result, the car ricocheted off a power pole.  It then hit the curb and eventually a nearby tree.  The vehicle then plunged thirty feet down an embankment.  It sheared off one tree before coming to its final rest.

The driver of the Lexus was the vehicle’s only occupant.  He has not yet been identified.  Reports indicate that no other cars were involved in the deadly accident.  It’s still unknown whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the collision.

Renton police are still currently seeking any witnesses who may have observed events leading up to the accident.  Witnesses are being asked to contact Officer Hyett at: 425-430-7500.  The Renton Police Case in question is 14-13621.

Speeding Kills

In 2013, Washington saw 440,773 speeding citations filed with Washington State Courts.  Further, the act of speeding accounted for the second most popular circumstance contributing to an automobile collision.  In total, 2013 witnessed 18,093 collisions due to excessive speeding.

There’s no denying it.  Almost all of us choose to drive our vehicles above the speed limit every single day.  But, the honest truth is that the simple act of speeding easily equates into increased risks of auto accidents, injuries and even deaths.

All of us need to become more responsible drivers.  Speeding is one act that is easy to cure.  No matter if you’re late for a meeting or an appointment; or, if you’re just reacting to a frustrating encounter on one of Washington’s roadways, slow down!  Your safety, and the safety of other motorists, will thank you enormously.

If you have been injured in an automobile accident due to a driver speeding excessively, please contact us.  Phillips Law Firm includes a premier team of attorneys that have represented countless victims of accidents caused by excessive speeding.  This team knows justice and they want to deliver it to you.  Contact them now for assistance!


On Halloween evening, a truck collided with at least nine other vehicles along the 9200 block of Rainier Avenue South.  According to witnesses, the truck was barreling down the street like a pinball.  A Seattle family unfortunately felt the wrath and furry of the out of control truck.  The family, however, was fortunate enough to survive the incident.

“I Wish it was a Dream”

Eric Arteaga, his wife, and their two small boys left their south Seattle home on October 31st for, what was thought, a fun night of trick-or-treating.  Mr. Arteaga was driving the family’s Toyota Tacoma.  He was traveling along the 9200 block of Rainier Avenue South.  Henry Arteaga, age 4, was sitting in the back seat wearing a fire chief costume.  His older brother, Enzo, sat next to him pretending to be a ninja.

Mr. Arteaga recalls driving and observing, in front of him, what looked like a car hitting a tree.  He began to change lanes; but, in an instant everything went blank.  “I didn’t even have a chance to react,” said Mr. Arteaga, “the next thing I remember is blinking and seeing maybe the dashboard.”

According to authorities, the collision resulted after a truck driver lost control of his vehicle.  The truck collided with at least nine other cars (including the Arteaga’s Tacoma), before it came to a rest against a tree.  The driver was traveling at speeds in excess of 65 m.p.h.

For the Arteaga family, the collision caused their Tacoma to topple over onto its side.  The collision was so severe that firefighters had to cut out part of the Tacoma to rescue the family.  According to Mr. Arteaga, “I wish it was a dream.”  According to his wife, Fara Arteaga, “It was terrifying. It was terrifying.  It was bigger than any feeling that I’ve ever had.”

As a result of the crash, both Mr. Arteaga and his son Henry suffered concussions.  Mrs. Arteaga and the family’s older boy suffered cuts, bruises and bumps.  In total, nine people involved in the accident were taken to the hospital.  All of them are expected to be okay.

According to Seattle police, the driver of the truck was responsible for the crash.  He was arrested after the collision and taken to the hospital.  He was released following treatment.  His name has not yet been disclosed.  Detectives intend on conducting a thorough investigation before any decision is made about possible charges against him.

When Dreams Become Nightmares

In describing the events of the above crash, Mr. Arteaga stated, “I wish it was a dream.”  We’re certain that numerous motorists in Seattle, and the State of Washington, echo these same words when involved in an automobile collision.  Phillips Law Firm is concerned that these dreams never turn into nightmares.

Automobile accidents are very real; and, they can produce the most frightening of nightmares.  In the wake of an accident, a person’s life…an entire family…can be turned completely upside down.  Anxieties can grow severe.  Injuries can become painful.  Medical bills can mount.  Simplicities in life that you could once count upon can easily become burdens, complexities and chores.  These are the nightmares we speak of; and, these are the nightmares we want to avoid.

Phillips Law Firm is not just about providing legal representation to personal injury victims.  Don’t get us wrong.  The attorneys at our firm stand 110% behind providing exceptional legal assistance and client representation.

But, they do more.  They listen.  They look for ways to help heal.  They look for ways to help rebuild a life or family. They try and compensate for injuries and damages.  These passionate attorneys are here for you.  If you have suffered injuries in an automobile accident, simply contact them today.  They stand ready and willing to assist you and provide you with the justice you deserve.


Gap insurance, of course.  The “GAP” in gap insurance stands for “Guaranteed Auto Protection.”  If an auto accident occurs, this insurance can protect a driver from having to pay the potentially significant difference between: (1) the amount the driver owes on his car loan; and, (2) the car’s estimated value.

Yes, insurance issues always have the likelihood of confusing.  Gap insurance, however, is relatively straight forward.  Let’s take a further look.

What Gap Insurance Covers and How it Works

Gap insurance typically comes into play when the driver of a car: (1) owes on a loan related to that car; and, (2) gets into a car accident where the same car is totaled (also called “total loss”).  In this situation, the driver’s collision coverage will only reimburse the driver for the current market value of his car.  An insurer will not cover any amount of money that the driver may still owe on his car loan.

Gap insurance was designed to provide extra coverage in this type of scenario.  Let’s consider a hypothetical.  Assume Fred purchased a car for $20,000.  At the time of purchase, he made a $2,000 down payment and took out a loan for $18,000.

Now, further assume that within a few months of his purchase, poor Fred was involved in an auto accident that left his new car completely totaled.  Fred still owes $18,000 on his car loan.  But, what happens once a buyer of a new car drives off the lot?  The car goes down in value.

After the collision, Fred’s insurer estimates that the fair market value of his new car is $16,000.  The insurer pays Fred this same amount via Fred’s collision coverage benefits.  In the end, Fred is left paying out-of-pocket for the $2,000 difference between the amount he owed on the vehicle and the amount he was paid by his insurer.

Now enter gap insurance.  Gap insurance essentially eliminates the deficit that Fred is left to cover out-of-pocket.  If Fred had gap insurance, then his insurer would have reimbursed him for the full $18,000 that he owed on his new vehicle.  In other words, gap insurance fills the gap between the fair market value of a totaled car and the amount still owed on that car.


An insurer must provide gap insurance if an insured asks for it.  But, this begs the question of whether a driver should even ask for it.  The answer to this question depends on a few considerations.

Please note that gap insurance is often required as part of a lease agreement.  Thus, if a driver leases a car, the lease agreement will typically include gap insurance into the overall equation.  Here, the driver is left paying a fee for the additional coverage.

In a non-lease situation, it’s up to the driver/purchaser of the car to determine whether gap insurance is in his best interest.  An important thing to keep in mind is the down payment amount paid at the time of purchase.  The smaller the down payment amount, the more important gap insurance becomes.

Please also understand that there are limits on how much a gap policy will pay.  Your particular insurance carrier will be best equipped to detail these limits.  Further, gap insurance may be limited to those policy holders that also have comprehensive and collision coverage.  Once again, your particular insurance carrier will be best equipped to discuss these issues.

A final consideration is Phillips Law Firm.  If you have any questions on whether Gap insurance is right for you, simply contact us.  Further, if you recently purchased a car and fell victim to a total vehicle loss, let our talented team of attorneys lead your way.  This team is experienced, dedicated, passionate, and ready to answer your call now!


While we all probably have our own opinion on this topic, a recent study suggests Seattle motorists need some help.  A few minor adjustments or some slight tinkering may not suffice.  According to Allstate Insurance’s “America’s Best Drivers Report,” Seattle ranks 173rd among 200 U.S. cities in terms of safe driving.  A rank of 173 kind of means we stink at driving; and, it suggests that much improvement is necessary to make our roadways safer.

“America’s Best Drivers Report”

Allstate released its report in the waning days of August.  The report is an annual report based on Allstate’s claims data.  The study essentially analyzes data regarding driving collisions for 200 of America’s most populated, and popular, cities.

Let’s bow our heads in shame for a moment.  Allstate’s study shows that Seattle drivers are 36 percent more likely than the national average to get into an accident.  The report measures accidents in terms of years between collisions.  So, for example, the report shows that, on average, drivers in the U.S. go 10 years between experiencing an automobile collision.  Seattle drivers go 7.4 years between collisions.  This figure places us in the top third of the most dangerous cities for driving in America.

No, we can’t lift our heads yet.  In a similar report conducted for 2012, Seattle ranked 154th among 200 U.S. cities.  In 2013, Seattle ranked 160th.  Now, we’re at a very shameful 173rd.  Let’s face it.  Our driving is not improving.  According to Allstate, we’re getting worse.

Are we the worst drivers in the Northwest?  We may have some positive news here…well, kind of.  In 2013, Seattle did rank as the most dangerous city for driving in America’s Northwest.  Once again, we ranked 160th.  Our closest competitor was Portland, which ranked at 154th.

This year’s statistics show that Portland drivers are 37.2 percent more likely than the national average to have a collision.  Yes, this is actually worse than Seattle.  Allstate’s report for 2014 places Portland at 177th in its rankings.  This means we can proudly hand off our “worst driver in the Northwest” trophy to the City of Roses.

Just for kicks, let’s look at the best, and worst, drivers in the nation.  According to Allstate’s report for 2014, the safest drivers in America reside in Fort Collins, Colorado.  The worst drivers can be found in Worcester, Massachusetts.


What Should We Learn from Allstate?

There are three important things we should take away from Allstate’s annual study.  The first is that maybe we’re not that bad on the roadways.  Allstate’s study was based upon its own crash data.  However, the company only sells approximately 10 percent of the nation’s automobile insurance policies.  Thus, if the claims data for all of the nation’s insurance policies were analyzed, maybe we’d filter out a tad better.


Even if the Allstate report is based on only a small pool of claims data, we should still give it some weight.  Once we do, there is no denying we rank at a bleak 173rd for driver safety.  Further, this ranking has worsened over the short time period of two years.  This brings us to our second lesson.  We need to start squaring ourselves away when it comes to driving safely.  Dangerous driving conditions do not lie in anyone’s best interests.  Let’s better protect ourselves, and others motorists in Seattle, by working a little harder at becoming more responsible behind the steering wheel.


As far as lesson number three goes, we have to note that increased car accidents in any one region results in greater scrutiny from insurance companies as they consider reimbursements and settlements for automobile claims.  Given our embarrassing ranking, insurance companies will likely review automobile insurance claims with greater detail for Seattle drivers.  This means Seattle drivers have a greater need to hire an experienced personal injury firm following an automobile accident.


Seattle definitely didn’t pan out too well in Allstate’s latest study.  However, don’t let this result in added stress and difficulty when working with your insurance company following an automobile collision.  Let our firm assist.  The Phillips Law Firm is comprised of a talented team of bright and successful attorneys that has been helping collision victims for years.  Do the smart thing if you’ve been involved in an automobile accident…contact us and let us fight for the justice you deserve.


The Phillips Law Firm makes an unprecedented move this month in handing out its notable “What Were You Thinking!?” award.  Remember, it’s never a good thing to receive this award because it’s a reminder to the general public that you took some form of carelessness that endangered a member of your community.  So, the unprecedented move is?  We’re proud (actually abhorred) to announce this month that we have co-recipients for our monthly trophy.

Drunken, Texting Driver…What Were You Thinking!?

A Bonney Lake bicyclist was hurt at the end of August after being struck by a drunken and texting motorist.  The accident occurred at approximately 10 p.m. on state Route 410 at 171st Avenue East.  The 53-year-old bicyclist suffered a broken ankle and several abrasions from the collision.

Washington State Patrol troopers eventually arrested the automobile driver.  He was a 23-year-old resident of Lake Tapps.  According to troopers, he was drunk and sending a text message when the collision occurred.  The driver was later booked into the Pierce County Jail on suspicion of vehicular assault.

Drunk driving is horrible.  Texting while driving is horrible.  To add insult to injury, the drunken, texting motorist failed to stop after the accident took place.  The driver eventually returned to the scene once another motorist informed him that he had hit a cyclist.

Texting Driver #2…What Were You Thinking!?

Our second award goes out to a teenage driver that struck and injured an unidentified 63-year-old female pedestrian in Arlington.  The accident took place in early September in the 17100 block of McRae Road Northwest.  The time of the incident was approximately 8:45 a.m.

The driver, age 16, was texting while operating her motor vehicle.  As she was texting, the side mirror of her auto struck the pedestrian and knocked her to the ground.  The pedestrian was taken to Providence Medical Center.  She suffered a broken hand, a broken hip and arm injuries as a result of the incident.

Unlike our drunken, texting driver above, we should note that the teen driver immediately pulled over following the accident and ran to check on the injured pedestrian.  “I was texting,” she said.  “I’m sorry.”  While the apology was a noble act, the act of texting while driving is a dishonorable one.

Texting While Driving is Illegal Folks!

Washington law unequivocally prohibits drivers from using cell phones or wireless devices while driving.  Washington created its cell phone law on June 10, 2010 in the hopes of deterring the use of cell phones while driving.  Under this law, police can pull a motorist over if they spot a driver holding a cell phone to his ear or texting while driving.  If found guilty of this traffic offense, a driver can face a $124 fine.  Additional Fines and other penalties can easily result if a crash is involved.

Why is Texting While Driving Illegal?

Texting while driving is illegal because the act is very, very, very dangerous.  For the doubters among us, consider the following:

  • According to the National Safety Council, as of this year alone, there have been over 500,000 automobile crashes that involve drivers using cell phones and texting.  This translates into one crash occurring every 30 seconds.
  • As estimated by (the official U.S. Government website for distracted driving), over 3,300 people were killed in distraction-affected vehicle crashes in 2012.
  • Thirteen percent of all drivers in the United States, between the ages of 18 and 20, admit to texting or talking on their cell phone at the time of an accident.

Drive Smart!

Regardless of the above statistics, many of us cannot resist the urge to talk on our cell phones or text while driving.  The truth though is that these acts can result in injuries to innocent people.  This took place in Bonney Lake, it took place in Arlington, and it can take place in your community unless we all become smarter drivers.  Lead by example and resist the urge to use your cell phone while behind the wheel.  Just drive smart!  Smart drivers are responsible drivers and they help increase the safety of us all.

Please note that if you’ve been injured in an automobile accident by a motorist that was using a cell phone, you have the right to file a civil suit to recover any injuries you may have sustained.  The skilled attorneys at Phillips Law Firm can help you exercise this right.  They’re here for you and they’re ready to provide justice today!


For those unfamiliar with State Route 522 (SR 522), it’s a roadway that basically connects Seattle to the city’s northeastern suburbs.  In September of 1995, a Reader’s Digest article labeled this roadway as one of “America’s most dangerous highways.”  A recent deadly head-on crash on SR 522 perhaps reaffirms this unlikely label.  It also motivates our current question: Do you feel safe driving on this highway?

June Crash Results in Two Dead and Two Injured

The safety of 522 came under fire, yet once again, last month after an automobile collision left two dead and two critically injured (including a one-year-old girl).  Jeffrey Crettol came upon the collision within minutes of its happening.  According to Mr. Crettol, “Seeing something like this is horrible.”

The collision took place during the day.  According to the Washington State Patrol, a Mitsubishi (with both an adult and a one-year-old inside) was headed eastbound on SR 522.  The car eventually varied towards the shoulder of the road and struck a construction barrel.

The driver of the Mitsubishi then tried to over-correct the car.  This resulted in the auto crossing the center lane of the roadway and colliding into an oncoming Ford Fusion.  Both people in the Ford died.  The driver and one-year-old in the Mitsubishi were taken to the hospital in critical condition.  A possible cause of the accident could vary well be 522 itself.

An Inherently Dangerous Road

SR 522 is well known as a dangerous roadway.  It’s a two lane undivided highway that has seen its fair share of accidents, collisions and deaths during its time.  Over the past 15 years, SR 522 has witnessed approximately 1,800 total accidents, 1,400 injuries, and 50 deaths.  As mentioned above, Reader’s Digest named the 10-mile stretch of 522 between Woodinville and Monroe as one of America’s most dangerous highways.  A Dateline NBC story and a 2007 Forbes Magazine article have also helped paint 522 as an inherently dangerous road.

Is There a Cure for the Danger?

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) believes a cure exists via widening the highway.  The specific widening would take place just west of the Snohomish River Bridge to 179th Avenue SE in Monroe.  According to WSDOT’s website:

“Nearly 28,000 vehicles travel this stretch of SR 522 each day.  Drivers experience heavy congestion and delays.  Widening the road into a four-lane divided highway will reduce congestion and the likelihood of collisions.  There were 100 collisions on this stretch of mainline SR 522 from 2006 to 2010, including three fatal collisions and four serious injury collisions.  There were an additional 54 collisions at the SR 522/164th Street/Main Street interchange.”

A problem still exists, however, due to funding.  According to, part of WSDOT’s intended project is now on hold because of a lack of money.  The widening project was supposed to be operationally complete by the fall of this year.  Due to funding issues though, it could be quite awhile until SR 522 enjoys increased lanes and a median.

Again…Is There a Cure?

As a personal injury firm with years of experience, we can add a few thoughts on the matter.  The talented attorneys within our firm have represented countless clients that have been the victims of an extensive range of automobile accidents.  These accidents occur every single day and they can occur for a vast array of reasons.

Despite this array of reasoning, however, one truth holds certain in many car collisions that take place in the greater Seattle area.  This truth is that many collisions can be avoided with safer and more responsible driving.  More often than not, it’s a driver himself that determines whether a collision will happen.  The current issues surrounding SR 522 should remind us all to take greater care when operating a vehicle…no matter what roadway we are operating this vehicle on.

As for SR 522 itself, we are interested to hear your opinions.  Is the highway truly too inherently dangerous such that even safer driving cannot help reconcile the dangers within?  Or, is this really just one of America’s most dangerous highways that needs some type of structural modifications to obtain better safety.  Please let us know your thoughts.

Please also know that our trusted firm is here to assist you in the unlikelihood that you have been injured in an auto collision.  If you have, please contact us today and let us help!


Our last post examined the severe dangers that result from distracted driving.  We concluded the post with a general query as to whether a solution for this very serious epidemic exists.  One man has actually stepped up and created a proposed solution to end all of the distraction.  The gist of his proposal lies in red nail polish and his proposal is receiving increased national attention on an almost daily basis.

Red Thumb Reminder

Sometimes complex problems are best resolved through simple solutions.  Just ask Steve Babcock.  Babcock is the man behind the Red Thumb Reminder campaign.  He launched the campaign to prevent drivers from texting while operating their motor vehicles.

Babcock’s campaign simply encourages drivers to paint their thumbnail with bright red nail polish.  The polish is used so that when drivers look down in an attempt to text, they immediately view their bright red nail and are reminded not to text when driving.  Let’s let Babcock himself fill in the details.

The Man Behind the Campaign

Babcock is the executive director and partner of EVB (Evolution Bureau), a San Francisco-based digital advertising agency.  As the above video indicates, Babcock admits that he was a habitual texter/driver.  He knew his habit was dangerous, but he just couldn’t kick it.  He began wondering if there was an easy, effective and inexpensive solution to his problem.

Babcock’s pondering continued until one day he noticed a piece of purple string around his 9 year old daughter’s finger.  His daughter wore the string to remind her of things for school.  Essentially, the string ignited a very crafty and novel idea.

Babcock opted for a red Sharpie marker rather than twine.  He used it to color his right thumbnail.  However, in short time the ink wore off.  Babcock knew he needed something more permanent.

With his wife’s help, he applied a coat of her red nail polish to his thumb.  In short time, he found that the bright glimpse of color consciously reminded him to reconsider his bad habit every time he reached for his phone while driving.  Since his initial application, Babcock insists he has kept the polish in place and proudly remains a text-free motorist.

According to Babcock, “This is an old-school approach to a new-world problem.  It starts with me, and you don’t need much: You need a thumb.  You need the desire.  And you need nail polish.”

Since breaking his habit, Babcock has discovered an added bonus to his bright thumb.  Strangers approach him almost every day asking about the shade of red.  Once Babcock provides his explanation, he finds that others are willing to share in his fight to become a text-free driver.  Has one man really created the first real solution to distracted driving?

Red Thumb Reminder’s Success

Babcock’s campaign is still in its initial stages so it’s difficult to say, as of yet, that his “bright” idea has truly solved the dangers of texting and driving.  However, Red Thumb Reminder gains increased popularity every day.  The campaign has been featured in several news outlets.  The campaign also has its own website ( and its own facebook page (  Further, Babcock actively promotes his campaign on Twitter and hopes to organize a national Paint-Your-Thumb day as part of Red Thumb Reminder.

The Phillips Law Firm is committed towards making our society a safer place.  We have successfully battled insurance companies, hospitals, product manufacturers, Fortune 500 companies, and careless drivers to help ensure the safety of our community.  Our successful and dedicated attorneys fight for the rights of injured people daily to help protect justice and security.

As a passionate team dedicated towards making our society, and its roadways, safer for all, the Phillips Law Firm applauds Mr. Babcock for his insight, ingenuity and his own dedication to safer and more responsible driving.  Granted, Red Thumb Reminder might not deliver a panacea for distracted driving, but its growing popularity suggests it might be a smart and effective first step.  Our congratulations to Steve Babcock.


texting while driving in SeattleWhat do red nail polish and texting have in common?  The answer is not a punch-line to a joke.  Much to the contrary, the answer is that both are part of one of the most dangerous traffic offenses facing today’s nation.  The traffic offense is known as distracted driving and it’s the cause of over 3,000 deaths in the United States per year.

The following is the first post of two in a special feature covering the topic of distracted driving.  The following will take a closer look into this very severe and dangerous condition.  The second post will highlight one man’s very unique answer to preventing this condition…an answer of increased popular support and heightened publicity.

What is Distracted Driving?

The phrase largely speaks for itself.  Distracted driving is a person’s act of driving a motor vehicle while engaged in an activity that might distract that person’s attention from the basic task of driving.  What possible distractions might exist?  Well, there are several and the most common means of distraction include:

  • Texting
  • Talking on a cell phone
  • Reading a map
  • Adjusting a radio
  • Conversing with passengers
  • Grooming

Among these, texting is by far the most dangerous distraction that exists.  Perhaps you’ve heard this before but are still doubtful.  Well, consider for a moment, the fact that five seconds is the average time a driver’s eyes are diverted from the road while texting.  If traveling at the speed of 55mph, five seconds spent texting means your driving the length of a football field while blindfolded.  Simply pause for a few seconds and truly think what could happen while driving blind, at 55mph, for five seconds.  The results could be devastating.

What the Statistics Say

Still not convinced that distracted driving poses a very severe danger?  For the doubters among us, let’s look at a few statistics on the topic.

  • According to the National Safety Council, as of this year alone in the United States, there have been approximately 494,561 automobile crashes that involve drivers using cell phones and texting.  This translates into one crash occurring every 30 seconds.
  • As estimated by ( is the official US Government website for distracted driving), over 3,300 people were killed in distraction-affected vehicle crashes in 2012.

More alarming is the fact that distracted driving (and largely texting while driving) is posing a very severe danger to our nation’s youngest drivers.  According to

  • 10% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
  • Drivers in their 20s make up 27% of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes.
  • 25% of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they sit behind a steering wheel.

Put simply, distracted driving, and largely driving while texting, is causing injury and death to thousands of motorists every year.  Unfortunately, this includes injury and death to teens and motorists in their very early years of driving.  Distracted driving is essentially a devastating and fast growing epidemic that must stop.  But, the question is how?

Laws on Distracted Driving

Laws prohibiting certain acts definitely help aid in deterring the act involved.  As of June 10, 2010, Washington State created a cell phone law in the hopes of deterring the use of cell phones while driving.  Under this law, police can pull a motorist over if they spot a driver holding a cell phone to his ear or texting while driving.  If found guilty of this traffic offense, a driver can face a $124 fine (the fine can easily increase if a crash is involved).

Despite this law, drivers continue to use their cell phone every single day while operating a motor vehicle.  Drivers remain distracted at the wheel despite the inherent danger that these distractions may cause.  Is there a solution in sight to this grave concern?  Or, are we all just too stubborn to pay attention to what matters the most…our safety, the safety of others, and the rules of the road?

Hope just might lie in a campaign entitled the Red Thumb Reminder.  The second post in our feature will examine this campaign.  In the meantime, please know that the Phillips Law Firm is committed to assisting those persons injured in a distracted driving related incident.  If you believe you have suffered injury from an accident involving a distracted driver, please contact our dedicated team of attorneys today for help.