During the month of February, Shelton Police Department will have additional officers on patrol looking specifically for distracted driving violations. The cost of the extra patrols will be funded through a grant
from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC). WTSC is the state’s designated highway safety office. The upcoming initiative is part of their shared vision with law enforcement agencies to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero by 2030.
A few stats on distracted driving in Washington:
- Fatalities from distracted driving increased 32% between 2014 and 2015.
- 71% of distracted drivers engage in the most dangerous distraction, cell phone use behind the wheel.
- 1 out of 4 crashes involve cell phone use just prior to the crash.
In 2017, Washington passed the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (E-DUI) Act, which prohibits the use of any hand-held device while operating a vehicle. Drivers may not use hand-held cell phones or watch videos while they are driving, stopped in traffic, or at a stop light. This includes tablets, laptops, games, or any hand-held electronic devices. The law restricts hands-free use of an electronic device to a single touch or swipe of the finger. The fine for distracted driving is $136.00. Distracted driving infraction data is available to insurance companies.
Drivers CAN use their device if they are:
- Hands free (such as using Bluetooth and can start use by a single touch or swipe without holding the phone).
- Parked or out-of-the-flow of traffic.
- Starting a GPS or music before driving.
- Contacting emergency services.
For more information on Washington’s E-DUI law and distracted driving visit http://wadrivetozero.com/distracted-driving.