Distracted Driving Law Warning Period Ends

Washington Drivers Caught Using Phones While Driving Will Now Receive $136 Ticket

Olympia, WA [January 23, 2018] – Today marks six-months since Governor Inslee signed the state’s new distracted driving law.  Washington State Patrol (WSP) has ended the grace period for Washington drivers caught using electronic devices while driving. State Patrol and law enforcement officers across the state are now all issuing tickets to drivers who violate Washington’s distracted driving law—Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (E-DUI) Act.

Under the E-DUI law, drivers may not use hand-held cell phones or watch videos while they are driving, stopped in traffic, or at a stop light. This includes tablets, laptops, games, or any hand-held electronic devices. The law restricts hands-free use to a single touch.

Since the law took effect July 23, 2017, State Patrol officers have issued 6,475 distracted driving warnings statewide.

“When you drive distracted, you are putting both yourself and other drivers in danger,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. “By eliminating distractions while driving, we will move closer to reaching the statewide Target Zero goal of no fatalities and serious injuries by 2030.”

Fatalities from distracted driving increased 32 percent from 2014 to 2015 in Washington. And one out of four crashes involves cell phone use just prior to the crash.

The first E-DUI ticket will cost drivers $136. If the driver incurs a second ticket within five years, the fine increases to $234. In addition, all information on cell phone infractions is now available to insurance companies.

“All of the distracted driving crashes and fatalities we are seeing are completely preventable,” said Darrin Grondel, Director, Washington Traffic Safety Commission. “Washington’s law is a bold step toward changing the culture of phone use in the car and we believe it will have a profound impact on making our roads safer for drivers and pedestrians.”

Other types of dangerous distractions are also covered by the law. If, and only if, a driver commits another traffic violation (like running a red light), and that person was distracted by another activity besides an electronic device (for example, putting on makeup, shaving or reading), that driver can receive a $99 ticket for driving while ‘dangerously distracted.’

Buckle Up! Your Family is Waiting for You!

Stanzi Hay, a senior at Asotin High School

The following news release is a sample of the release sent to Kitsap County. Localized releases were sent statewide.

“Buckle Up! Your Family is Waiting for You!”
High School Senior Helps Launch Statewide Seat Belt Campaign

Pierce County, WA –What would you do if you knew that some of your friends were carelessly putting themselves at the risk of dying?

When Stanzi Hay, a senior at Asotin High School, conducted an observational survey, she found that nearly nine out of every ten students and adults arrived at school buckled up; but she was concerned about those who weren’t. These were her friends and classmates, and she didn’t want their loved ones to experience a tragic loss simply due to a negligent decision to drive or ride unbuckled.

“Unsafe behavior behind the wheel is a big deal. The decision to not buckle up while driving kills teens just like me every day across America,” said Hay, reflecting on what drove her to dedicate her senior year to promoting seat belt usage and teen driving safety.

She decided to tackle this issue through the development of a yearlong safe driving campaign. One of the many projects she led this year was a three-week-long seat belt campaign at Asotin High School called, “Buckle Up: Your Family is Waiting for You!” She wanted her peers to understand that the decisions made within a vehicle impact countless others’ lives and those of their family members.

The campaign resulted in increased seat belt use among fellow-students, and by the end, 96 percent were arriving to school protected by seat belts.

That’s a bit higher than our state seat belt use rate of 95 percent. So for the next few weeks, Hay is taking her message statewide and joining the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to encourage drivers across the state to buckle up every time.
“Your family is waiting for you,” Hay reminds drivers and passengers. “For their sake, buckle up.” After all, Hay points out, “The use of seat belts has saved the lives of nearly 300,000 Americans since 1975.”

Washington law enforcement officers will join the national Click It or Ticket campaign aimed at encouraging everyone to wear their seat belt on every trip. Extra patrols will run from May 23 to June 5, 2016.  In Pierce County, the Bonney Lake, Fife, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Puyallup, Sumner, Tacoma and University Place Police Departments, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, and the Washington State Patrol will be participating in the extra patrols through the coordination of the Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force.

These extra patrols are part of Target Zero—striving to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030. For more information, visit www.targetzero.com.

NHTSA Honors Safety Champions at Lifesavers Conference

Cathy Tuttle, Executive Director of Neighborhood Greenways in Seattle, was one of 16 recipients of the NHTSA Public Service Awards. The full list of award winners is included in the news release below.

LONG BEACH, Calif. – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) presented 16 individuals and organizations with the NHTSA Public Service Award at today’s 34th Annual Lifesavers Conference. The agency’s top public service award recognizes the tireless efforts and outstanding contributions many people make to improve highway safety throughout the country.

“The Department of Transportation is dedicated to safety, but we can’t do it alone,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “The NHTSA Public Service Award recipients help us improve safety each and every day across the country. We thank them for their service, for the difference they have made, and the example they are setting for others.”

The Lifesavers conference is the nation’s largest assembly of highway safety professionals. The conference highlights and shares emerging traffic safety data, and issues, and exposes participants to proven life-saving programs and best practices that they can use in their individual jurisdictions. This year’s conference hosted by the non-profit Lifesavers Organization, runs from April 3- 5 in Long Beach, CA and is expected to draw well over 2,500 participants and 90 exhibitors.

“We rely on the continued leadership of safety practitioners all across this nation to help us tackle the most dangerous driving practices – whether it is drunk driving, seatbelt use, child passenger safety, or distraction,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind. “The winners exemplify the highest levels of dedication and hard work that are critical to saving lives on America’s roads.”

The NHTSA Public Service Awards recognize and honor an individual or organization, who exemplifies high standards of achievements in the field of traffic safety; and through his/her or the group’s accomplishments, has contributed to the quality of life in the community, state or nation. Nominations were limited to individuals and organizations who conduct these activities as volunteers or in a civic capacity. Award winners were nominated by NHTSA staff members and selected by senior NHTSA leadership.

Here are the 16 public service award winners and their plaque citations:

  • Colonel Michael Edmonson / Deputy Secretary of Public Safety Services, Louisiana State Police – Baton Rouge, LA: In recognition and appreciation of your leadership in advancing traffic safety enforcement programs across the Nation including the Drive to Save Lives campaign.
  • Lieutenant Scott Harner / Ocean City Police Department – Ocean City, MD: In recognition of your collaborative efforts and dedication to reducing pedestrian fatalities and crashes by championing the Walk Smart program.
  • Deborah Hersman / President and CEO of the National Safety Council – Itasca, IL: In recognition of your outstanding contributions to improving transportation safety through advocacy and awareness efforts on a wide range of critical traffic safety issues.
  • Johnny Humphreys / Safe Kids Texas Heatstroke Task Force – Austin, TX: In recognition of your expert leadership, advice and training to the citizens of Texas on the prevention of child heatstroke deaths in cars.
  • Judge Joseph Kavanaugh / Professor National Judicial College – Alexandria, VA: In recognition of your outstanding service in protecting communities and enhancing traffic safety by providing expert legal advice and training to our Nation’s criminal justice community.
  • Dr. Beau Kilmer / Co-Director of RAND’s Drug Policy Research Center – Santa Monica, CA: In recognition of your leadership and innovation in the areas of alcohol and drug- impaired driving program and policy research.
  • Officer Joey Koher / West Virginia Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) Coordinator – Huntington, WV: In recognition of your advancement of West Virginia’s DRE program and your commitment to reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by impaired driving offenders.
  • Thelma Kuska / National Child Passenger Safety Board – Palos Hills, IL: In recognition of your extraordinary commitment to the safe transport of children and teens through education and training.
  • Carl McDonald / MADD’s National Law Enforcement Initiatives Manager – Casper, WY: In recognition and appreciation of your outstanding advocacy by bringing awareness to the devastating effects of impaired driving.
  • Rep. Lee B. Perry / Utah State House of Representatives – Bingham, UT: In recognition of championing occupant protection and other traffic safety issues by encouraging and supporting strong legislation.
  • Susan Price / Senior Deputy District Attorney for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office – Santa Ana, CA: In recognition of your outstanding service in protecting communities and enhancing traffic safety by providing expert legal advice and training resources to Orange County’s criminal justice community.
  • Greg Raisman / Executive Director Neighborhood Greenways – Portland, OR: In recognition of working to reshape roadways into safer, more equitable, and comfortable streets for pedestrians and bicyclists through community engagement across Portland and Seattle.
  • Sergeant Luis Taborda / Miami Police Department – Miami: In recognition of your coordination of the Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety program in Miami and your commitment to reducing crashes, injuries and fatalities caused by impaired driving offenders through DRE training and mentoring.
  • Joanne Thomka / Program Director of the National Traffic Law Center, National District Attorney’s Association – Alexandria, VA: In recognition of your outstanding service in protecting communities and enhancing traffic safety by providing expert legal advice and training to our Nation’s criminal justice community.
  • Cathy Tuttle / Executive Director Neighborhood Greenways – Seattle: In recognition of working to reshape roadways into safer, more equitable, and comfortable streets for pedestrians and bicyclists through community engagement across Seattle.
  • Dr. William Haddon, (Posthumously) / US DOT 50th Anniversary Award Winner: In honor of the first Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Dr. William Haddon – Pioneer, Physician, Leader, Scientist – for his enduring contributions to motor vehicle safety in the United States.

WTSC PSA

Toward Zero Deaths – TZD

WASHINGTON D.C. – The National Strategy on Highway Safety, called Toward Zero Deaths (TZD), was officially rolled out today nationwide. The TZD plan provides countermeasures in education, engineering, enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS) for organizations, businesses and individuals to reduce deaths on our roadways from over 33,000 each year to zero.

“The philosophy behind Toward Zero Deaths is until our roads are absolutely free of fatalities, our work is not finished,” said Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). “Our aim is that the united effort of these organizations will reduce highway fatalities at a much faster rate.”

More than 40 states have zero-based traffic safety efforts underway, but there is a need for a single, national vision for highway safety. TZD was developed by a steering committee cooperative to fill this need.

“Crashes are influenced by many factors,” said Steve Keppler, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). “To reach our goal of zero, solutions must come from multiple angles, which is why the TZD plan addresses the vehicles, the road and the driver.”

“Adopting a TZD safety vision is a crucial first step in eliminating fatalities on our nation’s roadways,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). “But following through with real-world actions is of equal, if not greater, importance. The TZD plan outlines something everyone can do—on a personal or professional level—that will contribute to saving lives on our roads.”

Many states and local organizations have begun implementing initiatives outlined in the National Strategy on Highway Safety.

Examples of initiatives in progress:

Law enforcement is identifying high crash corridors and is implementing high-visibility and targeted multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional enforcement coupled with education and outreach activities to help motivate behavioral change.

Several state EMS and highway safety officials are linking electronic crash record data with EMS (and hospital) electronic data to determine which treatments are most effective in saving lives and reducing disabilities.

Future enhancements to the 911 system, referred to as “Next Generation 9-1-1,” are being planned to enable people to transmit text messages—including images, video, and other data files—about the crash location and scene. This vital information will help EMS staff significantly improve the preparations, response and services provided at a crash scene.

County engineers nationwide are assembling multidisciplinary work groups at the local level to address specific community roadway safety issues.

“Reaching zero deaths on our nation’s roads will take dedication and collaboration by everyone who touches our transportation network who will turn this vision into a reality,” said Anne Ferro, president & CEO of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).

About Toward Zero Deaths

For more information about the Toward Zero Deaths National Strategy on Highway Safety, visitTowardZeroDeaths.org. The TZD effort is led by a group of associations representing state and local government agencies working to reduce highway fatalities:

  • American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA)
  • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
  • Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA)
  • Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)
  • International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • National Association of County Engineers (NACE)
  • National Local Technical Assistance Program Association (NLTAPA)
  • National Association of State Emergency Medical Services Officials (NASEMSO)

The Federal Highway Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provided technical support to the TZD efforts.

For more than five years, these associations have been working together to identify and prioritize the leading initiatives that will reduce traffic fatalities over the next 25 years.

Contact:
AASHTO
Tony Dorsey, 202-624-3690
Media Relations Manager
tdorsey@aashto.org

TZT :30 PSA

Governor Reappoints Traffic Safety Commission Director

Darrin Grondel to continue position

OLYMPIA, WA — Governor Jay Inslee reappointed Darrin T. Grondel as Director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Mr. Grondel has been a traffic safety professional for more than 21 years.

“It is extremely humbling and a distinct honor and privilege to be asked to continue in this position working with dedicated and passionate traffic safety professionals every day,” Grondel said. Former Governor Christine Gregoire first appointed Grondel as Director of the Traffic Safety Commission on March 1, 2012.

Prior to his time as Director, Grondel served as a captain and the commanding officer of Washington State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Division (CVD). During his CVD command, Washington State Patrol was recognized nationally for lowering truck-related deaths, receiving the 2010 Commercial Vehicle Safety Award. Grondel was recognized personally when he was nominated to the Governors Distinguished Managers Association in 2009.