The term “E-DUI” is a relatively new one in Washington state. In July 2017 a law was passed to address a growing problem on our roads — driving while under the influence of electronics. Under the new law, drivers are prohibited from holding their phones or using them to watch videos at any time while driving, stopped in traffic, or waiting at a traffic light. A single touch is allowed when using a hands-free device (including a phone mounted to your dash or windshield).
Although the E-DUI law was passed last July, there was a so-called “grace period” during which officers would only issue warnings — not tickets — to help the public understand the law. That grace period ended in January. On average, about 1,500 drivers per month in Washington have received E-DUI tickets since then. Now the Washington Traffic Safety Commission is taking it a step farther with increased patrols for distracted driving and E-DUI from April 2-14, 2018.
The cost of a first E-DUI ticket it $136. Receiving a second ticket for the same offense within five years results in an increased fine of $234. The fine isn’t the only consequence, however. Insurance companies now have access to information on E-DUI citations — meaning your insurance rates could increase if you get ticketed for distracted driving.
“Our goal is to raise public awareness about the dangers of distracted driving,” said Erika Mascorro, program manager for WTSC. “Research shows that drivers are three times more likely to crash when talking on the phone, and 23 times more likely to crash when entering information into their phone.” (Source: wtsc.wa.gov)
So next time you’re thinking about texting, snapping, updating your Facebook, or checking your Instagram on the road — remember there are over 150 law enforcement agencies across the state zeroing in on distracted driving.