In honor of the two-year anniversary of Governor Inslee signing the E-DUI law into effect, King County officials will be stepping up their patrols over a two-week period to crack down on those drivers who can't seem to put their smartphones away. From July 22 to August 2, 2019, King County will use High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) to warn drivers of the dangers of distracted driving. E-DUI is driving under the influence of an electronic device.
HVE combines law enforcement, signage (such as electronic billboards, road signs, banners), and publicity to educate the public about a law that they may either not be aware of or ignore altogether. Checkpoints and saturation patrols can also be part of HVE. HVE has been shown to increase the deterrent effect with motorists.
In Washington, distracted driving accounts for 30% of fatal accidents and 23% of serious injury accidents. Drivers are three times more likely to be involved in an accident while talking on a phone. Distracted driving includes using any kind of cell phone, smartphone, tablet, laptop, onboard entertainment system, or video game.
In short, it is against the law to have any of these devices in your hand while you are driving in Washington state. This includes drivers when they are stopped at a red light or stuck in a traffic jam. The only time drivers can use these devices is when they are completely out of the flow of traffic or parked. Drivers can use hands-free accessories but only if they are able to be enabled with a single swipe or touch.
Washington's Target Zero Campaign
Even though a recent survey conducted by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission's Target Zero campaign found that 95% of motorists think that using a phone for texting or emailing while driving is wrong, drivers are still using their devices while they are behind the wheel. Target Zero's goal is to have no traffic fatalities or serious injuries from distracted driving by 2030.
If you are caught using your device while driving, you can expect to pay a fine of $136 for your first offense, with fines increasing with each subsequent offense. Your ticket will be reported to your insurance company, so you might also see an increase in your auto insurance premium. To be safe, just put your device away in your glove box or in your purse and wait until you are off the road.
Steve Karimi has proven and effective legal skills to represent clients across the state of Washington. He is a former prosecutor who now works to defend people against DUI charges, no matter how cut-and-dried the case may seem. If you have been charged with a DUI or even an E-DUI, call his office today at 206-621-8777 or fill out an online contact form to learn how he can help you.