Each year the number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. stemming from distracted driving has been increasing. In 2015 alone there were 3,477 traffic deaths in the U.S. This is a 9 percent jump in fatalities from the year before. As these statistics soar, the Governor of Washington – Jay Inslee has begun the crackdown of such violations by accelerating the enactment of a bill called, Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUIE) Act.
This new law is set to take effect July 23rd, and it forbids practically the use of all handheld gadgets, such as phones, tablets, laptop computers and gaming devices while operating a vehicle. The law also prohibits use of handheld devices while at a stop sign or red-light signal. Drivers are still allowed to use a smartphone in a few ways, such as to access GPS, blue tooth, and to make 911 calls. Motorists utilizing their GPS are allowed to use their devices as long they are attached to a dashboard cradle. Amateur radio equipment, citizens-band radio, or the use of a handheld devices while the vehicle is stationary is still legal.
Drivers who are caught violating this law will face a fine of $136, which doubles to $235 when receiving a second distracted-driving citation. The consequences of being ticketed due to distracted driving is not temporary, as the infraction will also be reported on a motorist’s record. That information will be used by the insurance industry. An increased insurance premium is likely, but will ultimately depend on what the data shows as well as the correlation between someone’s infraction and crash history.
As a personal injury attorney, Jason Epstein recognizes the importance of these laws and the behavior that they seek to discourage. He works hard on behalf of victims who are injured due to negligent driving. If you or anyone you know has been the victim of negligent driving, do not hesitate to contact us. We offer a free consultation, during which we will give you more information about your rights and how to go forward with your claim.