The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

WSP reports stats on new distracted driving law


August 10, 2017

It has been nearly two weeks since the new distracted driving law went into effect, and the Washington State Patrol is reporting statistics to see how the first week of the law differed from the week before the law went into effect.

The Distracted While Under the Influence of Electronics law took effect on July 23. From July 23-29, troopers contacted this many motorists for violating the new distracted driving law:

--Contacts 337,

--Citations 27,

--Written warnings 4, and

--Verbal warnings 306.

During the previous week of July 16 -22, troopers stopped this number of cell phone violators:

--Contacts 273,

--Citations 118,

--Written warnings 0, and

--Verbal warnings 155.

In 2016 the troopers enforced both the cell phone handheld and cell phone texting laws. Both laws were replaced by the current law. Here are 2016 statistics:

--Contacts 16,884,

--Citations 7,941,

--Written warnings 114, and

--Verbal Warnings 8,805.

The Washington State Patrol is currently running a six-month grace period, said Kyle Moore, WSP communications director in a news release this week.

"Troopers are looking to educate more drivers on the new law, not ticket them," he said. "However, it’s important to remember just because we will be in the grace period until January, doesn’t mean drivers get a free pass. If troopers observe distracted driving violations coupled with other dangerous driving behaviors, or if you’ve already received a warning about the new law, you run the risk of getting a ticket."

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, fatalities in Washington caused by distracted driving increased 32 percent from 2014-2015.

"We know a lot of people – both Washingtonians and those traveling through the state – know about the new law, Moore said. "Last month we published a few articles to help drivers better understand how this will impact them."


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