Washington

Don’t even think about reading this story on your drive home from work today!

Distracted driver nearly rams bus in Lakewood

Traffic enforcement video from an intersection on South Tacoma Way in Lakewood shows a distracted driver nearly colliding with a Pierce Transit bus.
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Traffic enforcement video from an intersection on South Tacoma Way in Lakewood shows a distracted driver nearly colliding with a Pierce Transit bus.

For those of you who may have missed it, the state of Washington on July 23 will begin enforcing a law making it against the law for drivers to use or even hold hand-held cell phones while driving. The law extends to all electronic devices, will be enforced even when drivers are stopped at a traffic light or in traffic, and offenses will be reported to insurance providers.

For those of you who did already know that, here’s just a friendly reminder that July 23 is only 10 short days away, and it’s time to keep that phone in your pocket or purse.

Here is a video provided by wadrivetozero.com about the law:

Hands-free use is allowed, such as through Bluetooth, as long as it is a single-touch function, and you are reminded to start your GPS or music before you put the car in gear.

A first violation of what’s being called the E-DUI law will cost you $136; the second within five years comes with a $235 price tag. You can also get a $99 ticket for other types of distraction, such as personal grooming, smoking, eating or reading while driving, if you are pulled over for another traffic offense.

The Tacoma News Tribune broke down the specifics of the law in this article last week, while the Seattle Times also had a good Q&A in May.

Think police won’t see you? The Abbotsford News ran a story Wednesday saying that the Langley Royal Canadian Mounted Police are using long-range cameras to enforce their laws and are finding an estimated one distracted driver every five minutes.

Don’t think Washington’s law is enough? Canadianunderwriter.ca reported Wednesday that a Vancouver, B.C., development company is starting a pilot program that will offer a smartphone app designed to prevent distracted driving. eBrake will lock drivers from their device when motion is detected but will still grant passengers in cars unrestricted use.

But until that technology exists, here’s a look at how some Washington law enforcement agencies are trying to spread the word about the July 23 enforcement date:

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