“Webbing” while driving: the new distracted driving threat

It seems quaint that not so long ago, a person had to be stationary to surf the Internet. It was an activity that was typically done in a home or office and required a desktop computer that had a wired connection to a modem. However, today, with the development of smartphones and other portable devices, many people access the Internet while on the go, be it while walking or driving.

Although it is indisputably more convenient, surfing the web while mobile can be dangerous. According to a recent survey, more people are surfing the Internet while driving, or "webbing," increasing the risk of car accidents on roadways in Washington and nationwide.

According to the survey conducted by State Farm, young people-between 18 and 29 years of age-are especially prone to webbing. According to the survey, 48 percent of young drivers said that they accessed the Internet while behind the wheel in 2012, a 65 percent increase over 2009.

The results of the survey also showed that young drivers are not the only ones who are webbing. The survey found that drivers of all ages accessing the Internet while driving increased to 21 percent in 2012, up from 13 percent in 2009. Additionally, other web-based activity also increased between 2009 and 2012. Checking social networks increased to 15 percent from 9 percent and updating social media climbed to 13 percent from 9 percent.

Webbing while behind the wheel can cause the same disastrous results of other forms of distracted driving: swerving outside of the lane or median, rear-end collisions and a failure to notice pedestrians or bicyclists.

Although the driving abilities of all age groups are negatively affected by distracted driving, statistics show that it affects young drivers more so. According to the Department of Transportation, drivers under 20 years old are the most likely to be distracted. In addition, 16 percent of drivers in this age range-the highest proportion of all age groups-who were involved in fatal car accidents were distracted when the accident occurred.

An attorney can help

Washington law has addressed the problem of distracted driving by banning the use of handheld wireless communication devices (such as smartphones) while operating a motor vehicle. In addition, it is illegal to send, read or write a text message while driving.

In addition to the criminal penalties, distracted drivers also face lawsuits. Under Washington law, a driver who is injured by a distracted driver is entitled to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for medical bills, lost wages and future medical expenses. If you or a loved one has been injured by an inattentive driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your right to compensation.