Who has not used a cell phone while driving? Beware! A tougher texting
while driving law goes into effect on July 23, 2017. Ten percent of Washingtonians
use their cell phones while driving at any given time according to a recent
study. Unfortunately, distracted driving kills 9 people every day, injures
390,000 people every year, and makes drivers 23 times more likely to crash.
The Washington Legislature passed an Act called Driving Under the Influence
of Electronics (DUIE) to address concerns with distracted driving. Studies
show the distraction from using your phone is equivalent to the impairment
of a person who is two times over the legal limit for driving under the
influence of alcohol (DUI). A DUIE is a traffic infraction, not a criminal
law violation like a DUI. However, distracted driving can turn into a
criminal offense if the driver's inattention causes an accident or
a fatality. A person can be charged with
reckless driving,vehicular assault, and even vehicular homicide for carelessly driving
a car that is involved in an accident. The new law permits hands-free
calling but prohibits a driver from holding a cell phone while accessing,
composing, or VIEWING data on their phone including messages or pictures.
A traffic citation cost $136, will be reported to the department of licensing,
and can impact your insurance rates.