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Washington's distracted driver law takes effect

Washington's attempts to eliminate distracted driving moved to a new level on July 23, 2017, when the state's zero tolerance law went into effect. The law aims to prevent drivers from doing anything but driving while they are operating a motor vehicle. According to police, the new law is aimed at sharply reducing the number of car accidents on Washington's highways.

The law prohibits Washington drivers from operating or even touching an electronic device. If a driver is pulled over for a traffic violation and is holding a cell phone or other electronic device, the officer has the discretion to issue a ticket for a "DUI-E" in the amount of $135. Officers are also authorized to issue tickets for distracted driving to motorists who are consuming food. Officers also have discretion to issue DUI-E tickets if warranted by the driver's conduct. According to the state police, a DUI-E is a primary infraction, much like a speeding ticket or an ordinary DUI. If convicted of the offense, the driver's record will reflect the violation, and his or her insurance rates will be affected.

At the moment, state police are stopping drivers for distracted driving and merely reminding them of the effect of the new law. In a few months, however, police will phase out the warning period and begin to issue DUI-E tickets to anyone who is found in violation of the law.

Those who have been injured by distracted motorists deserve justice. From medical expenses to lost wages, there are a number of damages that have the potential to be recovered in a situation where someone has been harmed by the actions of another party. Seeking an experienced attorney can help those in such situations.

Source: Fox12, "New Washington state distracted driving law in effect," Brenna Kelly, July 23, 2017

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