It has been almost a year since one of the nation's toughest driving laws took effect in Washington. On July 23, 2017, Washington state's new distracted driver law was enacted.
The “Driving Under the Influence of Electronics" law, also known as E-DUI, sought to make drivers more attentive by making actions such as holding cellphones, applying makeup, and eating while driving illegal. And it appears to be having an impact.
Washington State Patrol (WSP) district 8 monitored distracted driving trends since the law took effect and noticed a drop in distracted driving collisions.
From July 2016 to June 2017, the year before the law was enacted, the seven counties served by WSP district 8 saw an increase in distracted driver contacts from 494 to 573. However, WSP saw a decrease in distracted driver collisions in the same timeframe, from 75 to 56.
As compared to the July 2016 to June 2017 timeframe, Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific and Wahkiakum counties had a decrease in these collisions during July 2017 to June 2018.
Grays Harbor was the only county that saw a decrease in the number of contacts and an increase in the number of collisions.
Instead of holding devices and using them while driving or stopped in traffic, drivers are encouraged to opt for hands-free devices to make roads safer for themselves as well as others driving around them.
The first E-DUI ticket will cost drivers $136. The second ticket in five years will cost $234.
A driver's insurance company will also be notified in case of a cell phone ticket.