It’s been just a little over a year since Gov. Jay Inslee signed the Washington Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (E-DUI) law into effect, making it illegal for drivers to hold or use their electronic devices while operating a vehicle.
To better gauge how well the public understands the new law, the King County Target Zero Task Force conducted a study, which revealed many drivers are unsure about certain aspects:
- Can a driver enter information into a GPS system while driving?
Answer: Only if it can be done in a single touch
- Can drivers use a cell phone while stopped at an intersection?
Answer: No, that is illegal.
- Is dialing 9-1-1 while driving legal, in the case of an emergency?
Answer: Yes, it is legal.
The survey also revealed that while many agreed it’s unsafe to use electronics while driving, they weren’t likely to change their behavior. More than 70 percent of the 900 King County drivers surveyed noted that texting and emailing while driving is a “very serious personal threat,” but 75 percent also said they believe ‘it’s very unlikely that they will crash their vehicle by texting while driving.”
First-time E-DUI offenders will be issued a $136 ticket, and a second ticket issued within five years of the first jumps up to a $234 fine.
“Our goal is to make putting your phone away as common as putting your seat belt on,” said Sgt. Robb Kramp of the Mercer Island Police Department. “One out of four crashes involve cell phone use just prior to the crash, but if we all commit to focusing on driving and not our phones, we can save lives in our community.”
To learn more about what is legal and illegal under the new E-DUI law, visit the Target Zero website.