Question: What, if anything, can/should people do when they see others texting while driving? I see this at least once every day. This morning I saw it twice during my short commute down 410.
These people are going 55-65 mph. I know I could call 911 from my cellphone, but how effective would that be? – Anonymous
Answer: Texting while driving is illegal and dangerous. The Washington State Department of Licensing says a driver who’s texting is as impaired as a driver with a 0.16 blood-alcohol level. That’s twice the legal limit for drunken driving.
Police generally advise people to report illegal texting, but with a couple of caveats.
First, don’t put yourself in danger by calling the police while you’re driving.
“In Tacoma they can report it to 911 or the non-emergency number (253-798-4721) but only if the caller can do so safely,” said Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum.
The Washington State Patrol says report it, but only if the person is driving erratically.
“I always encourage folks to report drivers that are displaying an erratic driving pattern – excessive speed, lane travel violations and so on,” said trooper Guy Gill, a State Patrol spokesman. “If someone sees another driver texting and their driving pattern becomes bad, then they should report them. Call 911 and give the vehicle description, direction of travel and what it is the driver is doing.”
Does it do any good?
Gill says it might.
“Have your location, direction and vehicle description ready for the dispatcher,” Gill said. “A caller may be connected to a pilot patrolling about.”email@example.com