[6/20/19] WSP Distracted Driving

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Washington State Patrol (WSP) troopers will conduct a statewide emphasis on distracted driving from Friday, June 21 through Sunday, June 23.

In Washington State drivers are prohibited from using a personal electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on a public highway— which includes when stopped in traffic or at a traffic light.

Personal electronic devices aren’t just limited to just cell phones, but also includes laptop, tablets, gaming devices, etc.

However, drivers are allowed to use their phones if:

• It’s hands-free and can be started by using a single touch or swipe of a finger

• You are parked or stopped out of the flow of traffic and safely off the roadway

• Calling 911

The penalty for distracted driving is a $136 citation for the first offense. If you’re issued another citation within five years, the penalty raises to at least $234 and each offense is reported to your insurance companies.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission lists distracted driving as the cause of 30% of statewide traffic fatalities.

In 2018, WSP contacted over 20,000 drivers for distracted driving, 3,000 more than the previous year.

They’ll likely add to that number this weekend with a three day distracted driving emphasis Friday thru Sunday.