Lawmakers in the state of Washington have recently passed new legislation cracking down on distracted drivers.
DUIE Law Cracks Down On Handheld Device Use
Governor Jay Inslee signed the “Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUIE) Act” into law on Tuesday. The distracted driving law was not scheduled to go into effect until 2019, but Inslee elected to veto that portion of the bill in the name of public safety. Law enforcement officials will begin to enforce the law starting on July 23.
The new law toughens up existing distracted driving rules, which only prevented texting and holding a phone to the ear. Under the new law, drivers are forbidden to use any handheld device behind the wheel, even at a stop light. Language in the bill tightens up the types of activities that are forbidden while driving, forbidding motorists to email, play games, or take pictures.
Violation of the DUIE Act will now be considered a moving violation like speeding. It is also a primary offense, so police are free to pull a driver over just for using a handheld device.
A first time DUIE offense will cost a driver $136. For the second DUIE offense, the fine jumps up to $235.
C.B. Radios Among Few Exemptions to DUIE Law
The law makes a few special exceptions. Truck drivers are permitted to use C.B. radios. Calls to 911 are permitted, and emergency responders are exempt from the law.
There is some concern that there may not be enough law enforcement officers in Washington to enforce the new law. Only $19,000 of the state’s budget will go toward enforcing the DUIE law.