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US Should Look to Norway for Drunk Driving Laws

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In response to a question I sent out on what other people suggest for DUI laws and protection measures, one reader stated that US should follow Norway’s laws for drinking and driving to prevent drunk driving car accidents, which often leave victims extremely injured or dead. I looked into the laws for Norway and they state that the legal drinking limit is about .02 BAC compared to the US of .08 BAC.

Norway is dead serious about stopping drunk driving and preventing senseless deaths and injuries related to car accidents. Norway’s .02 BAC level basically means that you cannot even have one drink and drive, otherwise you could potentially lose your drivers license for one year, lose one month’s salary, and go to jail. If your BAC is between .10-.15 you would go to jail for a minimum of 21 days in addition to losing your license for a year.

The problem in the US with .08 BAC limits is that people can have one drink and sometimes two drinks and blow below a .08 BAC, even though they may exhibit signs of slow reaction times and poor motor functions, diminishing their ability to drive. In the US, people believe they are good to drive after drinking because it was just a couple drinks and they feel fine. In Norway, people drink and they do not risk driving because they have had a drink and know they could get a DUI and lose their license even though they are perfectly capable of driving, in American standards of thinking.

If the US had Norway’s DUI laws, people would not even have to debate whether they are too drunk or not to drive. A person that has had any amount of alcohol can easily reason with themselves that they drank alcohol and will blow over a .02 BAC. This takes the decision making/debate out of drinking and driving, which is the biggest problem with people who drink and drive. It’s not until they get caught and blow over a .08 BAC or that they crash and hurt someone that they realize they were not actually good to drive.

If we are truly serious about stopping drunk driving car accidents and countless senseless deaths, we should take the debate out of people who are clearly not in the right mind to make a decision. We should advocate for a lower drunk driving limit if we truly want to make a difference with drunk driving car accidents.

Andrew CherinUS Should Look to Norway for Drunk Driving Laws
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How to settle a car accident injury case?

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If you are injured in a car accident, your focus is being torn many different ways. You have to focus on setting up medical appointments, go to medical appointments, do the treatment, fill out insurance claim information, get a hold of insurance adjusters to get your claims paid, call places to get your car repaired, get your car repaired, answer phone calls from insurance companies trying to settle your case when you are not ready, and live your normal busy life.

Dealing with insurance companies is no fun and by hiring a personal injury lawyer, you can relax and trust that your going to be getting the max amount for your case and your medical bills are getting paid or will be paid soon. It takes the guessing game out of so much of your case allowing you to focus on healing and living your life, which is already a lot to do.

What if you wanted to settle your case on your own with hiring a Seattle car accident injury lawyer? You can absolutely do this, even though studies have shown that hiring a personal injury lawyer will put more money in your pocket than negotiating on your own. Here are some tips on settling your car accident injury case on your own.

  1. Know the statute of limitations – This is the amount of time you have to settle your case before you will lose your rights. In Seattle and Washington State, you have three (3) years to settle or file a lawsuit on your car accident injury case. This varies from state to state and type of injuries, like medical mal practice, so check your state laws.
  2. When should you start settling your case? – You should start settling your case when you are fully healed and done with treatment or you are close to the statute of limitations. The reason for this is because you want to know how much it is going to cost to get you back to normal. For Seattle cases, you can afford to wait to get all the treatment that you need because the statute of limitations is three (3) years. In other states, you may have to settle your case before you are done with treatment. Waiting until you are fully healed will allow you to collect all your medical bills, receipts for medications, and figure out your lost wages.
  3. Know what you are entitled to – You are entitled to compensation for your medical bills, prescription costs, costs of help or assistance you required while you were healing, lost wages, future lost wages, compensation for disability, and pain and suffering among other things. If you do not hire a car accident injury lawyer and your insurance company paid for your medical bills, your insurance company will collect the medical bills that they paid directly from the at fault insurance company and this will not be part of what you recover. However, if you had to pay co-pays for your doctors visits, keep track of these and include them in the settlement demand.
  4. What do you send to the insurance company? – You are going to create an insurance demand to send to the adjuster representing the defendant who caused your car accident. You should collect all your medical records and bills from all of your treatment providers. Once you have them all, you should write a letter to the insurance company that summarizes what you went through in the eyes of the doctors and yourself. You should find key dates in your medical records that state times where you were in a lot of pain and not the dates in the letter and state what you felt. You should note key dates when your doctors diagnosed you with a certain injury and write that in the letter. You should also include your lost wage information like pay stubs from weeks you missed and letters from human resources stating you missed these dates.
  5. How much should I ask for? – Generally, insurance companies are going to offer you something very low to begin with in an effort to anchor your expectations to a lower number. You should combat this by starting very high, but not too high where they laugh you out of the conversation and stop dealing with you. You want to create a figure that you feel happy with accepting for what you had to go with as your middle ground between what you start off with and where they start off with, so start with a high offer above what you want to accept.

After you send this letter, the insurance adjuster will go through all the medical records and bills and review your demand. They will then put certain information into a computer system program that will spit out negotiation numbers for them to start with and the most they should pay. This computer program varies by insurance company but is relatively the same. It may take them a couple weeks to get back to you with their offer.

They will then send you a counter offer, this is not the most they can offer not matter what they say. They have more money available for you and are expecting you to counter their offer to you. You can either call them back and negotiate on the phone or send them another offer by email, fax, or mail. Negotiations with insurance companies can last weeks or months depending on the insurance adjuster and you.

Some insurance adjusters are easy to work with and you can negotiate a good offer within a couple phone calls to them. Other insurance adjusters are very difficult to work with and can be very nasty and bossy. The mean insurance adjusters will berate you are your case and offer you little or nothing. Don’t let them get to you. Continue to be polite but forceful and never attack them personally. Continue to ask for what you deserve and lower your number until you are within striking distance of your goal settlement. This is all easier said than done and you may feel like giving in, but don’t.

If you feel like you are getting no where and you are tired of dealing with nasty insurance adjusters, give a Seattle personal injury lawyer a call for a free consultation. We can take over and re-evaluate your case value and send another demand out. We can advocate for you and file a lawsuit if we do not get anywhere either.

Andrew CherinHow to settle a car accident injury case?
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BAC Readers in Bars and Restaurants?

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What role do bars and restaurants have to play in preventing or proliferating drunk drivers from hitting the road? Many drunk drivers come from bars and restaurants where they drink too many in social situations. However, there are still people that drink and drive after coming from a party or alone at their own house.

Washington state has laws that state that bars and restaurants will be liable for over serving their patrons and share financial responsibility for any accidents that their over served patrons cause to others. This is known as dram shop laws.

The theory is that bars and restaurants are profiting off of others and the communities loss and costs. When a drunk driver leaves a bar and kills someone, the community, tax payers, and everyone loses. However, the bar may get away with the added bar tab unless someone can track the drinking of the driver to that bar, at which they could be liable for $1 million or more in damages that someone or their family sustained because of a drunk driver seriously injuring or killing someone.

Most bars and restaurants carry $1million in insurance coverage to cover the very instance of someone drinking too much at their business and injuring another person by drinking and driving. The insurance limit should be much higher, however, as someone being injured or killed by a drunk driver suffer far more than $1 million in damages.

Drunk drivers are usually irresponsible people in general and carry low if any insurance coverage. In Washington State, the minimum insurance limit is $25,000, far too low. For a $20 to $50 more a month, people can get $500,000 in insurance coverage, but everyone is trying to save money. Most drunk drivers do not have a high amount of insurance coverage and repeat offenders are already paying increased premiums so they may opt out of the higher coverage or any insurance at all.

What can bars and restaurants do to prevent people from drinking and driving? Bars and restaurants must train their staff to know and recognize signs of impairment and not serve alcohol to these people. One way that bars and restaurants could know for sure how drunk someone is, is to install BAC machines at their bar and only serve people below the legal limit.

Installing a BAC machine and bars and restaurants can be an effective way to prevent their staff from over serving people that have been drinking and are too drunk. However, this will only go so far unless another rule is put into place: no sharing alcohol with others only giving one drink per person, no more pitchers. Combining these rules would help combat drunk drivers from hitting the road and allowing bars to not be sued as often for over service.

Obviously, this would not be the best for the bar or restaurants pockets as they make more money when more drinks are consumed. However, this would go a long way to preventing people from drinking too much and getting behind the wheel. Preventing drunk driving car accidents should be our goal, not profits of bars and restaurants.

How do you know who is driving and who had a designated driver or is taking an Uber or Lyft home? This could be a huge problem with making BAC machines mandatory for all bars. However, public intoxication is also a crime that is to be prevented from bars. What is the legal BAC limit for public intoxication? It is up to the officers discretion but .08 BAC is a factor in determining if someone is drunk or not. A person could walk into the street drunk and get hit by a car.

Portable BAC readers are a lot more affordable today than they were say 20 years ago. You can go to Costco and buy one for about $150. Bars could easily afford to buy these.

How reliable are BAC readers? People are drunk at different levels and BAC machines are not all the same for calculating levels, but they have gotten better. However, .08 BAC is .08 BAC and the legal limit, so that is not a good argument. Maybe requiring bars and restaurants to have BAC machines would create more accurate machines so that police use the same machines.

Anything that we can do to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and killing others should be considered. What are your ideas?

Andrew CherinBAC Readers in Bars and Restaurants?
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Are Washington DUI Laws Tough Enough?

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How does Washington State’s DUI laws rank compared to other states and are we tough enough to prevent people from drinking and driving? One website ranks Washington State 15/50 on one leading search website but are they actually tough enough to deter people from driving drunk and stop repeat offenders? Conversely, Mothers Against Drunk Driving Ranked Washington State 32/50 states in their 2017 rankings. Repeat offenders are the most dangerous offenders as they increase the likelihood of killing someone in a car accident each time they repeat offend.

Washington State has a minimum sentencing guideline for first offenders who drink and drive with BAC under .15 of one day in jail and 90 day license suspension for first offenders, 30 days and two year license revocation for a second DUI, and 90 days and three year license revocation for a third DUI, if they occur within seven years of each other.

For a BAC at or above .15, Washington State has minimum sentencing guidelines of two days in jail and 1 year license revocation for first offenders, 45 days and 900 day license revocation for a second DUI, and 120 days and four year license revocation for a third DUI, if they occur within seven years of each other.

A fourth DUI within ten years is a class B felony that comes with at most 10 years in prison and a fine up to $20,000.

When a person injures another person in a DUI car accident, vehicular assault, the defendant receives a class B felony which is subject to at most 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

When a person kills another person in a DUI car accident, vehicular homicide, the defendant receives a class A felony which is subject to life in prison and a fine up to $50,000.

In comparison, a second DUI is a felony in Oklahoma with jail time of one year to 7 years and they count your DUI’s for 10 years. In Arizona, considered the strictest DUI state a 1st DUI comes with 10 day mandatory jail time with a second DUI getting you 90 days in jail. Arizona also has another level of offense for BAC levels at or above .20 that come with 45 days in jail for 1st time offenders and 180 days for 2nd time offenders.

Some people will state that jail time is not a good thing for tax payers and for getting people to stop drinking and driving. Many states including Washington have electronic home monitoring, ignition interlock devices mandatory for cars, and car drivers license suspensions and revocations (meaning you have to take the drivers test again).

What will it take to stop people from drinking and driving? Do people need to sit in jail for years at a time to get sober and think about what they are doing? Will sitting in a jail cell with no ability to drink cure their addiction and stop them from driving? Alternatively, do electronic home monitoring devices and drinking programs detecting alcohol do a good job stopping drinking?

It is hard to tell which one is right and which one will stop people from drinking and driving. Initial tough laws like mandatory jail sentences put a stigmatism on people that may prevent them from getting jobs, but obviously deservedly so, but will it more likely lead to more drinking and more problems?

Do prior convictions hurt or help stop people from continuing to drinking and driving? A DUI in Washington will not count for a prior after 7 years but will count to for a 4th DUI if done in 10 years. Should these priors last longer on people’s records?

Do mandatory license suspensions and revocations do enough? Do we need to do more to make sure people are not driving on suspended or revoked licenses? Can we hold their family members accountable for the actions of the drunk driver who continues to drink and drive on a suspended license?

Many of these questions remain unsolved because we just do not have enough data on which is right and which is wrong. There are so many variables among states to determine which state has it right and which need to change their laws.

The Mothers against drunk driving organization believes that states should have sobriety check points, ignition interlock devices for all drunk driving offenders with .08 blood alcohol content and above, administratively revoke driving privileges upon arrest for drunk driving, create enhanced penalties for those who drive drunk with children in the vehicle, and adopt penalties and expedited warrants for suspected drunk drivers who refuse an alcohol test.

Washington State does not allow sobriety check points, as there is a belief that such check points are unconstitutional.

1,921 people died in drunk driving car accidents from 2003-2012 in Washington State according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Arizona had 2,912 people die in the same period of time and Oklahoma had 2,205 people die in drunk driving related car accidents. Arizona and Washington have roughly the same amount of people living in each state while Oklahoma has less than half of the population of either state.

We can always do more to help prevent people from drinking and driving. Educating our youths the dangers of drinking and driving, teaching people how to use ride sharing apps to get a ride home, better access to counseling for alcohol addiction, detection programs to report drunk drivers early, police patrols to catch drunk drivers, and others, can combine to help us prevent drunk drivers from taking our loved ones. Please do not drink and drive.

Andrew CherinAre Washington DUI Laws Tough Enough?
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Uber Pool Is Dangerously Distracting Drivers

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Uber pool has been around for a while now. It is basically where you get a discounted fee for riding with another person who wants an Uber and the person is unrelated to your party to go to a destination that may be close to yours or starts somewhat near you.

However, Uber pool is increasingly creating a hazard to Uber drivers as the Uber driver gets notified of a possible Uber pool ride in the middle of a trip with another passenger. Uber pool passengers select that they want a discounted ride by agreeing to possibly ride with another passenger. However, there may or may not be another passenger depending on if the driver gets notified that there is another passenger that they must pick up.

Uber pool rides are completely different from other Uber rides. With non Uber pool rides, once a driver picks up a passenger, the driver can focus on following the map and taking the rider to the destination without getting notifications on their phone from Uber and the Uber App.

With an Uber pool ride, the driver may be notified that they are to pick up another passenger for the Uber pool ride. The driver may get the message as they are getting on the freeway, taking an exit, or wherever, and this could cause the driver to have to make a quick decision to change directions to pick up the new passenger. This creates a hazard to the driver, the passengers, and cars around the driver.

In Seattle, there are distracted driving laws that just came into effect recently outlawing the use of technology, items in your car, and other things that may cause you to take your eyes of the road and cause a hazard to other drivers. Seattle law allows for drivers to use mounted phone holders but requires drivers to not read, send, view electronic data while driving a car. Here is the law:

Using a personal electronic device while driving.

(i) Holding a personal electronic device in either hand or both hands;

(ii) Using your hand or finger to compose, send, read, view, access, browse, transmit, save, or retrieve email, text messages, instant messages, photographs, or other electronic data; however, this does not preclude the minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the device;

(iii) Watching video on a personal electronic device.

Uber pool’s inside notification of a new ride may be a violation of the Washington State law, as they would receive a notification and have to look at it and read it. While their trip may be automatically rerouted through navigation, they would get a notification that may violate the law. They would then have to re-route their current trip and catch the next exit on the free way or turn on the next block, possibly in heavy traffic. On the freeway, missing an exit could be the difference between a 10 minute trip and a 30 minute trip.

Being injured in a car accident with Uber or Lyft is always complicated because of the different levels of insurance coverage based on whether the driver has a passenger, is looking for a passenger, or has their app off. If you have been injured in a car accident by a Uber or Lyft driver or were injured by someone else while driving for Uber or Lyft, call a Seattle car accident injury lawyer today for a free consultation.

Andrew CherinUber Pool Is Dangerously Distracting Drivers
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Car Insurance Tracking Your Driving?

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Is it worth giving your data to the insurance company for a discount on insurance? Maybe. It all depends on what they are doing with your data, which for the most part is unknown. Are they selling your data to ad companies or are they trying to use the data against you? Maybe they just want to make sure you are a safe driver and have altruistic reasons. Maybe not. They are a business with the number one goal being to make money, after all.

Car insurance companies have been offering discounts for years for allowing them to hack into your car and track your driving. Progressive Insurance company started doing this in 1998 with the snapshot insurance discount. Other insurance companies have followed suit and offer discounts for using the tracking device, Allstate uses drive wise.

Insurance companies will offer a discount if they deem your driving has been safe. Some companies require you to use the device for 90 days, 180 days, or all the time, in order to get the discount on insurance policies.

These devices are either plugged directly into your cars computer system or use a smartphone app to track your driving. The device can monitor your speed, location, braking, and more. Generally, the insurance company is looking to see if you are speeding regularly or braking hard, which may indicate you are not paying attention to the road. It can also see if you roll through stop signs as most of these companies hook the technology up to GPS systems to show mapping of traffic lights and stop signs.

Additionally, the GPS system can track your whereabouts and if you drive in “high risk areas” that are prone to break ins. It also tracks if you drive at night, which can be seen as a risk by insurance companies.

Insurance companies have wide discretion to determine whether or not someone has a driving record based on the information from the tracking device to warrant a discount in insurance. They can site whatever they want really and may not give you a discount.

What could be good about using these trackers is that they possibly could be used to determine who was at fault for a car accident or not. They could show position, speed, and braking to give more information to a he said she said argument. However, it is unknown how trustworthy these tracking devices actually are.

An insurance company could also just as easily use this device to say that you were at fault for a car accident and deny your insurance claim based solely on the data they can interpret and mold. This could cost you a lot of money in a personal injury case where you were severely injured in a car accident caused by a hit and run, only to have your insurance company deny your case because of their data on the car.

If you are injured in a car accident, whether it is a first party claim using your own insurance company because the other party did not have insurance or a third party insurance claim where they have insurance, you should hire a Seattle car accident injury lawyer. That way you are not bullied by insurance companies and their games. Get what you deserve, not what insurance companies want to pay you.

 

 

 

Andrew CherinCar Insurance Tracking Your Driving?
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Seattle Lane Sweeping Car Accidents

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Lane sweeping in Seattle is the cause of a lot of traffic downtown, especially for cars taking left turns. No I am not talking about sweeping with a broom to clean dirt off the ground. I am talking about a driving maneuver where one car passes over a lane illegally.

Lane sweeping is one of the most common illegal driving maneuvers that most people do not even know is illegal. Lane sweeping is where a car take a right hand turn and doesn’t turn into the lane closest to the curb but rather passes over this lane and into the next one.

Most people turn into the second lane because they perceive that their car cannot turn that tightly to get into the lane closest to the curb. However, all cars except for certain semi trucks and buses are capable of turning into the lane closest to the curb.

Unfortunately, this type of behavior can cause traffic jams when oncoming cars are prevented from turning left because the car in front of them decides to take a wide right turn into the second hand lane. The car turning left the opposite way of the car actually has the right to that lane, however, most people will cede that lane to other cars in order to avoid a car accident or because they do not know the actual law.

One particular trouble spot where I continuously run into this problem is the intersection of Yesler Way and 1st Ave in downtown Seattle trying to turn left from eastbound on Yesler onto 1st AVE. Cars going west on Yesler constantly lane sweep during their right hand turn onto 1st AVE not allowing cars turning left to make a turn until there are basically no cars going west on Yesler.

Washington State law states that cars taking a right turn must turn into the lane closest to the curb. Cars that turn into the next lane over are actually committing a crime of illegal lane change, which is subject to a fine and is a moving violation that could make your insurance rates go up.

If you have been injured in a car accident by someone turning into your lane or doing a lane sweeping maneuver, call a Seattle personal injury lawyer today for your car accident. You could be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages.

 

Andrew CherinSeattle Lane Sweeping Car Accidents
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Can you park within 30 feet of curved stop sign?

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In Seattle, there are many places where you can’t quite figure out if you can legally park there or not. One instance of such a quandary is parking within 30 feet of a stop sign where the stop sign is jutted out into the street.
You cannot park within 30 feet of stop signs because if you do you will get a ticket but also because it blocks the view of other drivers who was to see if there is traffic coming in your direction or not. Parking close to a stop sign can block people’s view of traffic, causing a car accident.
Is a jutted out stop sign considered a normal stop sign for the purposes of determining if you can park within 30 feet or not? It seems that the jutted out stop signs purpose is to allow more parking, while at the same time creating no vision problems for drivers.
There is no clear answer from what I have found. However, both the Seattle Municipal Code and the Revised Code of Washington possibly leave the door open for this unique situation where they say “any stop sign located at the side of a roadway”. The curved out stop sign may represent an exception from this law as it could be argued that the stop sign is not located on the side of the roadway at this point, as the stop sign is jutted out into the street.
Here is what the law says:
11.72.370 – Stop sign approach.
No person shall stand or park a vehicle within thirty (30) feet upon approaching any stop sign located at the side of a roadway. (RCW 46.61.570(1)(b)(iv))
RCW 46.61.570 (1)(b) (iv) Within thirty feet upon the approach to any flashing signal, stop sign, yield sign, or traffic control signal located at the side of a roadway;
Andrew CherinCan you park within 30 feet of curved stop sign?
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When do you have to have your headlights on in Seattle?

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Driving without your headlights on can be very dangerous to those around you and yourself. Driving without your headlights on can make you invisible at night and possibly cause a car accident that injures you and others. If someone cannot see you coming straight for them, they may turn in front of you causing a “t-bone” or head on collision. For this reason, Seattle makes it mandatory to have your headlights on at certain times of the day and during certain conditions.

In Seattle, you have to have your headlights on half an hour after sunset until half an hour before sunrise. Sunset is determined by what the official time of sunset is in Seattle. For example, sunset in Seattle for May 29, 2018 is 8:56 pm. This means that you must have your headlights on at the latest by 9:26pm. If you have your headlights off after that time, you may be subject to a ticket and a fine.

Additionally, you have to have your headlights on where there is insufficient light on the road due to dark clouds, heavy rain, snow, etc. where objects are not discernible at a distance of 1,000 feet in the distance. It is important to have your headlights on during poor weather conditions so that others can see your car on the free way and on regular streets. If someone can’t see you, they may accidentally rear end your car or turn in front of you.

Luckily, today many cars have automatic lights that either run all the time or turn on when wether conditions or outside conditions get too dark. This makes it so you never have to remember to turn on your headlights at night or during heavy rain or snow. The sensors on your car will turn your lights on when they do not get enough light into them.

Here is the law-

RCW 46.37.020

Every vehicle upon a highway within this state at any time from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise and at any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, persons and vehicles on the highway are not clearly discernible at a distance of one thousand feet ahead shall display lighted headlights, other lights, and illuminating devices as hereinafter respectively required for different classes of vehicles, subject to exceptions with respect to parked vehicles, and such stop lights, turn signals, and other signaling devices shall be lighted as prescribed for the use of such devices.

Andrew CherinWhen do you have to have your headlights on in Seattle?
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Ticket For Not Properly Restraining Child

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The leading cause of deaths among children under 12 is car accident related injuries. Seattle has some of the worst traffic in the US and there are a lot of people driving in the city that are not familiar with all of the streets, hills, and rules of the road. Couple this with driving around with a young child and you want to do everything you can to keep your child safe.

Washington State has one of the strictest laws on child car safety. The law was created in response toa Walla Walla parent, Autumn Alexander Skeen who lost her four-year-old son, Anton Skeen in a rollover collision. Anton was using a seat belt in accordance with state law at the time.  Yet,  because seat belts are built for adult bodies, he slid out of his seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle and crushed in the collision.

If you do not follow the law correctly, you could receive a ticket for not properly restraining your child for $112 for each child. Children are far more likely to be injured in a car accident when they are not properly seated in the car with the right safety restraint devices for their size and age.

However, if you get a ticket, know this. The state created a clause in the law that will actually allow you to not have to pay the fine so long as you can prove that you went out and purchased a child booster seat or car seat. They figure that the fine would be better spent on keeping the child safe.

Here are the basics of the law: (These are not manufacturer recommendations though so check those to make sure you are in compliance)

  • Children under age 8, unless they are 4’9″ tall (whichever comes first), must be restrained in an appropriate child restraint system (car seat or booster seat).
  • Children 8 years old or at least 4’9″ tall who wear a seat belt MUST use it correctly (never under the arm or behind the back) or continue to use a child restraint.
  • Children less than 13 years old must ride in the back seat of cars, unless there is no back seat.
  • Child restraint system must be used correctly according to the car seat AND vehicle manufacturer’s instructions. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for both the child restraint and the vehicle.

You can read the full law here at RCW 46.61.687 

The law is very vague and provides that you must follow the proper instructions by the manufacturer. Different car seats have different weight limits and different sizes requiring different positions.

Rear Facing Car Seats – 2 Years or Younger and weight limit- Generally, a child must be in a rear facing car seat until they are two years old or have outgrown their seat according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Rear facing car seats in the back seat are the safest position for your child and should be left in this position as long as possible, until they meet the guidelines for change. The middle back seat is the safest to protect from side impacts.

Infant car seats are generally only made for rear facing children and are not made for forward facing positioning once they have outgrown rear facing. Infant car seats are generally lighter and have carrying handles. These generally have lower weight limits and don’t last as long as convertible car seats.

Convertible car seats are much bulkier and do not have handles on them. These are made to both be positioned rear facing and then forward facing once your child is big enough. These are made so that your child can stay rear facing longer than infant car seats. Most convertible seats have weight limits for rear facing up to 40 pounds.

Forward Facing Car Seat – Generally, forward facing car seats have guidelines that state that a child must be in the car seat from until they are 65 pounds and less than 4’1″ tall. Some children will get too tall for their car seat and require a booster seat and an earlier age than others.

Booster Seat – Booster seats are made for children who have outgrown their forward facing car seat. Generally, booster seats are for children until they are 4’9″ tall. Booster seats are generally only for children who are at least 40 pounds and have outgrown their car seat.

Seat Belted in Back Seat – In Washington State, a child may not be only restrained by a seat belt until they are at least 4’9″. Children must ride in the back seat until they are 13 years old, under Washington State law.

Note: Just because a child is 8 years old does not mean that they can safely be seated in a safety belt alone. Children should continue to follow manufacturer’s guidelines and use a car seat or booster seat until they recommend not to. 

 

Andrew CherinTicket For Not Properly Restraining Child
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