Next week, Washingtonians will be subject to new distracted driving laws while on the road. This is important because it may help drivers to avoid distracted driving altogether. But if drivers aren’t careful, they might be subject to stiff penalties — that if they are not involved in crashes before they are caught.
According to the new law, which is referred to as “E-DUI,” drivers cannot use their phones or any other electronic device even if they are stopped at a light waiting for it to turn green.
This bill was meant as a way to address the major increase in traffic deaths related to distracted driving. Between 2014 and 2015, the Evergreen state registered a 32 percent increase in the number of distracted driving accident deaths. In order to help drivers act accordingly and avoid this type of accident, drivers will be given warnings for the first months before they begin writing tickets. For violators of the E-DUI rules, first citations will cost $136 while a second citation handed out to the driver within five years will increase to $236.
For distractions such as grooming, smoking, eating, drinking, or reading while behind the wheel, drivers may get $99 citations.
When these tickets are handed, they will go on the driver’s record, which will then be reported to the driver’s insurance provider.
According to the law, drivers are prohibited from using their phones at any time while they are behind the wheel, operating a moving vehicle. Hopefully, lawmakers and law enforcers say, this law will be helpful in teaching drivers the importance of focusing on the road to avoid crashes. But for this type of law to work, drivers will have to be alert to the potential consequences of breaking the law. If they are not aware that they may have to pay a stiff fine and end up having their insurance premiums go up, the law may not be effective for them.
If you’re constantly on the road, remember that with this new law, you may not be seen using a phone at all times while behind the wheel. But also remember that this law is being imposed because drivers who are distracted are more likely to be exposed to accident risks. Avoid crashes and be aware of possible risks by always focusing on the road and never ignoring that multitasking behind the wheel isn’t a good idea.