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Bill Coats Law
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I hope this month's Distracted Driving Awareness campaigns have gotten you thinking. Here's a powerful message in this gif I want to share. Imagine what that would be like if your message distracted your loved one to death. http://imgur.com/0ZfRGnP
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Since distracted driving has ballooned into such an epidemic problem, I often write about how dangerous it is. Because this is an entirely preventable risk, just like drunk driving, it seems crazy that people continue to do it. There is so much information, and laws, that educate drivers on the risks and yet it's everywhere you look.

Case in point, just the other day I was traveling along the highway through Whatcom County on a sunny afternoon. Passing a driver in the right lane, I glanced over at her and saw that she was actually reading a Kindle while driving. She must be one of the rare exceptions that defy current research that there's no such thing as multi-tasking, and our brains simply can't do two cognitive tasks, such as reading and driving, at once. So how could she possibly enjoy the book if she's got to pay attention to all the distractions of driving? 

I asked Google what crazy things people do while driving, and here's a list of my favorites from a recent survey conducted by DMEautomotive to drive attention to National Collision Awareness Month, starting in just a few days.

Changing clothes and shoes. Cars seem to be doubling as closets these days. This takes a level of coordination that defies logic, but six percent of those surveyed said they've changed outfits while sailing down the road. 
Shaving. Most likely car shavers aren't using straight razors. But still, this means taking a hand and your eyes off the wheel while grooming. Take that five minutes to shave before you hit the road. 
Flossing teeth. Six percent (the same people who change clothes and shave, perhaps?) said they do this while driving. Imagine what you'd say to somebody's family member who lost someone they loved because you hit them? Five percent admitted to brushing their teeth. I guess these drivers could make spitoons cool again.
Working on the laptop. Car, conference room - same thing. Bastions of efficiency, five percent of drivers admit to working on their laptop while driving. Remember, police can pull you over if they think you are taking your eyes off the road and driving distracted. I have a hard time thinking any officer would find your reasons for doing this one relevant. Might bring a whole new meaning to the term "deadline"...
Doing homework. Ditto the above.
Catching up on TV shows and movies. Seven percent of those polled admitted to taking in a TV show or movie while driving. 
Taking selfies. 13 percent of those surveyed said they've taken photos of themselves while driving. Only seven percent over age 35 admitted to taking pictures while driving, but a whopping 26 percent of drivers aged 16-34 admitted to this incredibly distracting habit. 
Changing contact lenses. This one is my favorite, because it means that someone is driving without really being able to see. 
If you're hit by someone doing any of the above, you've been hit by a distracted driver. Call me. There is money available to pay for the damages that this illegal behavior has brought to your life. With the leverage of having the ability to file and win a lawsuit if the insurance company doesn't pay, you can focus on recovering while justice is served to you. (360) 392-2833, and let's set up a time for you to come into my Bellingham office to talk about your case.
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Bellingham and Whatcom County are no different than so many other US cities – we have our share of drunk drivers. Some are infamous, and receive steep sentences for the damage they cause. It’s an astounding fact, but the average drunk driver is arrested after driving drunk 80 times.

Click the link for the full article
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We’re now familiar with some ready made excuses to explain distracted driving when drivers have been busted. None of which worked. But, it leaves the question, “Can distracted driving be proven?”

Yes, it can, and quite easily. Every call or text that goes through your phone is logged in your phone record. If anyone thinks cell phone use contributed to the accident, those records may be subpoenaed. A witness may have noticed the driver looking down right before the accident. In this day and age, it’s not a big leap to think the driver is checking his or her cell phone. If the claim becomes a lawsuit, cell phone records can be subpoenaed by the victim’s lawyer. Chances are, if there’s a call or text logged right about the time of the accident, the negligent driver will have a tough coincidence to explain. Because of the reach cell phones have in our lives and how often they factor in accidents, many jurors will think that a person looking down is on the phone instead of driving, even if the cell phone records don’t exactly correspond with the accident’s timing.

Other indicators of distracted driving can be a lack of skid marks, location of damage, and other evidence expertly assessed. Increasingly, data recorders are installed in vehicles, similar to an airplane’s black box, which track speed and braking. We may not have as many dash cams as Russian drivers but the technology is there, and commercial vehicles are more apt to have them running to keep an eye on their drivers.
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Getting ready for the Super Bowl? If you're hosting a party, you've got a responsibility to help your guests not drink and drive. Here are some thoughts on ways to do that.
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Need a quick excuse to try to get out of a distracted driving ticket? Here are a few of my favorites. Unfortunately, none of them worked!

I wasn't using it -- I just like to hold it.

Sorry officer, I didn't see you trying to pull me over because I was on my phone.

I was just checking the time.
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A foray into Google land lent inspiration for a post about violent kids' games, Jung's work on the shadow, and empathy. Alll under the wide umbrella of rubbernecking. Check it out here.
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How are medical bills paid after a car accident case? Most people have Personal Injury Protection (PIP), and it's required in Washington State. In fact, in order to not have PIP on your policy you would have to specifically sign off in writing to decline it. PIP includes $10,000 towards medical bills which are paid through this coverage by your own insurance company. PIP gets your bills paid on time. Later, when we go after the at-fault driver, we seek to recover those funds.
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What's a personal injury lawyer going to tell you about avoiding a DUI? It's not about how to get out of a checkpoint or DUI stop if you've got something to hide. It is about leaving the driving to sober people.

I work with injured people, many of them hit by drunk drivers, and this time of year they're out on the roads more than usual. In December, there's a spike in drunk driving crashes, which prompted President Obama to declare December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.

Here's my contribution to folks looking for ways to stay safe on the roads during the holidays. 
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