Driving while texting is as dangerous as drunk driving.
Yeah. Read that one more time: driving while texting is as dangerous as drunk driving.
So, it’s no wonder that in these days of cell phone-philia (ahem, Merriam-Webster, 2018 word of the year?), fatalities from distracted driving are rising sharply. In Washington state, they increased 32% between 2014 and 2015. In Seattle, distracted driving was a contributing factor in 187% more crashes in 2016 than it was in 2011.
Law enforcement can hit you with an E-DUI, short for Driving Under the Influence of Electronics, if you’re pulled over for driving while using your phone. The ticket is $136, and increases by nearly $100, to $234 on a second offense. You’ve probably heard about this law – it passed back in July 2017 and prohibits using hand-held devices like cell phones, tablets, laptops, and games while driving or while stopped at a light. And the violations are reported to your insurance company.
Don’t be like Homer.
Since July 2017, the Washington State Patrol has been honoring a six-month grace period, issuing 7,000 warnings during that time to educate people about the new change.
Now warnings are a thing of the past. Tickets are the new warning – and for good reason.
Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds; at 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field. With your eyes closed. If we’re going to reach our Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030, we’re going to need to tackle the issue of distracted driving and we’re going to need each and every one of you to help.
Here are a few easy steps to take:
- Keep your phone out of reach while driving. Here are some of our fave ways.
- If your phone has a “Do Not Disturb” while driving setting, enable it – iPhones and some other phones offer the feature.
- Join the It Can Wait movement.
With your help, we can reduce distracted driving incidents and get closer to Vision Zero.