Who’s Disregarding Washington’s Distracted Driving Laws? The Answer May Surprise You

A survey of 1,160 Washington drivers conducted by AAA of Washington shows that the group of drivers most likely to disregard the law isn’t teens—but “parents with children living at home.”

According to a report on kiro7.com, the most common illegal task drivers continue to do is setting up driving directions on a cellphone app or vehicle navigation system while driving.

“Of all the drivers surveyed by AAA, 82 percent say they have done this at least once in the past 30 days. For parents with children living at home, the number grows to 87 percent,” AAA Washington said.

How Washington’s E-DUI Law Works

Although lack of staffing on the Washington State Patrol has made enforcement of the E-DUI law something of a challenge, law enforcement does have latitude and the penalties do have bite. A police officer can pull someone over just for using a handheld device. The penalty for a first-time distracted driving is the standard traffic fine of $136. That fine nearly doubles to $235 on the second distracted-driving citation.

The parameters of the law aren’t completely inflexible. Drivers may use a smartphone in their car, but only if it’s mounted in a dashboard cradle, and drivers can only hold the device in their hand if they’re pulled off the roadway or traffic lanes.

According to Washington Patrol, there’s been a 5.5 percent decrease in the number of distracted driver-involved crashes in the year since Washington state’s E-DUI law went into effect. That’s after distracted driving became the second driver-related cause of traffic fatalities in the state from 2015-2017, according to AAA Washington.

The Law Office of David Lousteau

The Law Office of David Lousteau