New distracted driving legislation under consideration in Washington
In Washington, it is illegal to text while driving – but technically, it is legal to use a smartphone to check websites and apps such as Facebook or SnapChat. These actions are just as distracting as texting while driving, but this fact is not reflected by current laws.
Washington State is taking steps to change the law to address a wider range of distracted driving behaviors. A bill has been introduced to ban:
- Holding a personal electronic device in either or both hands while driving
- Using a hand or finger to compose, send or retrieve emails, send photos and transmit other electronic data while driving
- Watching videos while driving
The proposed legislation does not ban simple use of a device, such as turning it on or off, and there are exceptions stated in the legislation to allow use in certain commercial or emergency situations.
No matter what laws are in place, we know that distracted driving is a serious problem. Most importantly, all motorists must remember that distracted driving is a choice and we each have the power to control our own actions.
Eliminating the distracted driving problem would require every driver to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to the use of smartphones and other electronic devices while driving. We owe it to ourselves and others on the road to pay attention and take the task of driving seriously.
Free consultation: If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, learn about your legal options by contacting Elk & Elk at 1-844-ELK-WEST.