Statement of the WTSC on Gov. Jay Inslee Signing the “Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act”

OLYMPIA – The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) released the following statement from Director Darrin Grondel, in response to Governor Jay Inslee signing the “Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act (SB 5289)” today.

“Distracted driving is a major cause of crashes on Washington’s highways.  The new distracted driving law signed by the governor today will save lives.   Fatalities from distracted driving increased 32 percent from 2014 to 2015 in Washington, and 71 percent of distracted drivers are engaging in the most dangerous distraction, using their cell phones behind the wheel.  With the passage and signing of the `Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act,’ the governor and legislature are taking needed action to address an urgent problem.
“With the governor vetoing the January 1, 2019 effective date, and the new law taking effect this July, the WTSC and the Washington State Patrol will be working together to educate the public about the new regulations to raise awareness and help ensure compliance.  Drivers will no longer be able to hold their phones while they drive, and hands-free can only be operated with a single touch.  However, the safest and simplest action motorists can take is to park your phone when you drive.
 “The WTSC is dedicated to reducing traffic fatalities to zero by 2030, and the new distracted driving law is a milestone on that journey.”