I don’t know how many people are like me, but I tend to notice crosses on the sides of the road, and I almost always wonder what happened. With the placement of some crosses like the one below, you sometimes get an idea of what likely happened, but then you might wonder about the contributing factors; was a driver drunk, was a driver sleepy, or was a driver distracted?
Sometimes, we do not realize just how dangerous some of the things we do while driving really are. If you have ever been in a hurry, maybe you have tried to multi-task while driving to work; like drinking your coffee or eating breakfast, doing your makeup, combing your hair, or taking a phone call, or even writing a text to let someone know you will be late. Maybe we should stop to think: is doing any one of these things right now while driving really worth my life, the life of someone I love, or another innocent person’s life?
With Washington’s new Distracted Driving Law, Washingtonians can now be cited for any number of distracted driving violations. Although taking a sip of your coffee may be a secondary violation (which is to say you would need to be cited for something else, and the ticket amount would only be increased for the distracting behavior of taking the sip of your coffee), it is a primary violation to hold your phone while driving. In other words, you can be pulled over for holding a phone in your hand. What concerns me is that we needed a law in order to curb this behavior. Personally, I would have thought that the safety of self and others would be sufficient to curb distracted driving behavior.
Was a distracted driving law really necessary? Yes, for a lot of drivers it probably was. Driving at highway speeds is an inherently dangerous activity, why add more danger to the mix? But it’s regrettable we couldn’t just self-police.
At Taylor Flats Road and Selph Landing Road north of Pasco, arguably one of the most dangerous intersections in the Tri-Cites, I noticed that a white cross stood to memorialize the passing of a life taken too soon, possibly by a driver too distracted to be safe. In fact, Anderson Law has represented several people who have been injured near that intersection. Although I don’t know the details of the collision, or the factors contributing to it, I can glean certain details from the cross: that this death was likely as a result of a traffic collision at an intersection, that someone still thinks about and misses the person for whom the cross was erected, and that the accident victim was a little girl of the tender age of 10, that her name was Nicole Lynn, that she liked to play soccer, and that she died much too soon. While I can’t discern much more than that, including whether or not it was caused by a distracted driver, I am pretty sure that the death of this young 10-year-old girl was tragic and likely avoidable.