Distracted driving laws in Washington have changed. And while the Washington State Patrol was kind enough to give drivers a trial period in which officials didn’t cite anyone for breaking the laws, they are now in full effect. If you’re caught being distracted while behind the wheel, you will get a ticket.
According to the WSP, the state’s new distracted driving law is working. The claim comes from troopers on the ground who are seeing fewer drivers using their phones while behind the wheel. They also follow reports of high numbers of citations after the law went into full effect.
In January alone, WSP reported that officials stopped at least 50 drivers in Yakima alone for using their phones.
At least 21 tickets for the practice were handed out during that month while 29 people were allowed to go just with a warning. Because distracted driving is what causing crashes in Washington, WSP troopers have said, they must continue to make sure that the laws are being followed and that motorists who are caught being distracted pay for their mistakes.
According to official reports, the numbers show that distracted driving has also been killing more people over the years. From 2014 to 2015 in Washington, deaths caused by the practice went up by 32 percent, for instance. Considering that 71 percent of the distracted driving cases involve the use of cell phones behind the wheel, it’s safe to say that cracking down on the practice could benefit Washington drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and others. The fact that the WSP is saying that the law is working and people are not as distracted is a positive outcome.
If you are a driver and you believe that distracted driving cannot affect you because you’re confident in your skills, remember that no matter how good you are behind the wheel, distraction can delay your response and make accidents more likely to occur.
Do not use your phone behind the wheel not just because it’s illegal but because it will pose an accident threat to those around you.
For more on what the WSP is saying about the new law and how local drivers are responding, follow this link.