If you're still driving while texting or scrolling through Instagram, listen up: The Washington Traffic Safety Commission has announced enhanced patrol of distracted driving April 2 through April 14.
In a news release, the commission said more than 150 law enforcement agencies statewide will be on the lookout for distracted drivers and those violating the new "driving under the influence of electronics," or E-DUI, law. Passed last year, that law says drivers may not hold cell phones or watch videos while they are driving, stopped in traffic or at a stop light. That law restricts hands-free use to a single touch.
“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," said Erika Mascorro, program manager for the commission, in a statement.
The law went into effect last July, and officers wrote hundreds of tickets in January, when the six-month grace period ended. The first ticket costs drivers $136, and if a driver gets a second ticket within 5 years, the fine increases to $234. Those tickets could also cost your insurance premium to rise, since information on cellphone infractions is made available to insurance companies.
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According to the news release, a survey of Washington drivers found 96 percent agree that using a cellphone while driving is dangerous, 88 percent said they don’t check social media while driving and most said they don't read incoming texts. Only 1 percent said they felt comfortable being a passenger in a car with a driver who was texting, the news release said.