Many states across the U.S. are cracking down on laws pertaining to texting while driving. This is because an increase of distracted driving has caused an increase in fatal car accidents, with a boom in the last year.
The National Safety Council estimates that 40,000 deaths occurred from motor vehicle crashes in 2016. This is a 6% increase from 2015 and a 14% increase from 2014.
Moreover, an estimated 4.6 million people were injured and requiring medical attention in 2016. In light of this information, the National Safety Council is calling 2016 the “deadliest year on the roads since 2007”.
While many people are aware of the dangers of distracted driving, specifically using a cell phone, the issue still persists. Because of this, states are making stricter laws in the hopes of preventing accidents.
One of the forerunners of these new laws is Washington State. It is expected that many other states will follow.
As of Sunday, Washington state drivers will no longer be able to hold their phones while driving, let alone actually use it. This will be the case even while one is sitting at a stoplight.
The new driving law is called an “E-DUI- electronic driving while impaired”. While warnings will be given out the first couple of months, after that the first citation will result in a $136 fine and the second will jump to $236.
Governor Jay Inslee said, “Put the cell phones down, preserve life. When you are driving with a cell phone, you are a more dangerous driver than if you are driving drunk with a .08 blood alcohol level.”
The new law will also include a $99 fine for any other distracted driving including smoking, grooming, eating, or reading. These will be considered a secondary offense.
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