It’s no secret that the distracted driving law recently implemented in Washington confused a great deal of drivers. Still, officials are saying that despite the confusion, the law seems to have made a dent as 337 drivers were pulled over in its first week.
According to a series of news reports, the new law that restricts most activities involving a cell phone or another electronic while behind the wheel took effect July 23. After just one week, Washington State Patrol troopers reported that at least 337 offenders were pulled over. While at this time officials are just issuing warnings, as the law has a six-month grace period, at least 27 of these drivers were cited for being the most egregious violators.
While prior laws already stated that texting while driving or holding a phone to the driver’s ear was already prohibited, the new law takes prohibition to a while new level by forbidding drivers from using any electronic device for any activity while behind the wheel or stopped at a light.
Despite the wording, the law still allows for a couple of exceptions as drivers are still allowed to use their finger for answering hands-free calls. Also, drivers may be able to use the phone to contact law enforcement in the case of an emergency.
Reporters who rode along local police officers cracking down on distracted driving learned that while the grace period is still in effect, drivers who are both distracted and involved in dangerous or erratic behavior will be cited.
If you’re serious about your safety you already know that distracted driving is a serious problem that should not be ignored. But if you’re just learning about the new law and the risks associated with the activity now, make sure to do all in your power to remain alert and focused. And remember, even if you believe you are experienced and that distracted driving won’t impact you, it will. Distractions make drivers less likely to be able to respond to emergencies correctly, making it difficult for them to avoid collisions.
For more on how the WSP and local law enforcement agencies are acting to catch drivers breaking the new distracted driving law, follow this link.