Electronic Devices and Driving Don’t Mix

You’ve heard the stories…maybe you’ve seen the videos online or in the news, terrible accidents happen every day…so the first question people usually ask is ‘how or where?’ Most of the time… the cause is due to a number of possible distractions on our roads; it’s the leading cause of accidents everywhere today. According to the NHTSA the number of fatalities in 2015 was 3,477, but you can imagine the thousands of other accidents still caused by distractions yet lucky to survive. It’s no laughing matter, and the fact remains that many are seeking to change the laws, regarding drivers. I would welcome some changes to the laws when it comes to using electronic devices while driving. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not stuck behind someone swerving or going 10 under or over the speed limit due to a cell phone in their hand; I believe every state should have the hands-free laws.

Beginning January 23rd 2018, the state of Washington began its’ new distracted-driving law which enables them to give out tickets for DUIE; Driving under the Influence of Electronics. The public (in Washington) was notified about these changes back in 2017 and had a Grace period; all of six months in order to prepare themselves. There will be no use of cell phones, gaming devices, laptops or tablets…and don’t think about trying to work a GPS while driving, this too is a distraction; there’s no reason you cannot put your destination in your GPS prior to hitting the road. Also, you may not use or hold any devices while at a traffic light or stop sign; you will be sure to increase your chances of getting that $136.00 fine. The first offense is $136.00, and if you receive a second within a five year period it increases to $234.00. In fact…last year statewide (Washington) had cited 6,475 drivers, which began in July 2017 until the end of year; however…Jan1 2018 until the present they gave out another 746 tickets and the number is climbing every day. Distractions of electronics proves to be deadly every year, and for those of us that try to be vigilant while driving, it’s unfair to suffer the consequences of someone else’s behavior which could cause us injury, a totaled vehicle… or worse…such as death. Risky behavior (driving-distracted) puts us all in imminent danger, including officers at the side of our roads…dash cams catch it all day long. There are several distractions such as eating, self-grooming and reading which can also warrant actions from the law, in the event the driver was already pulled over for some other offense; this could cost an additional $99.00 in fines.

Drivers continue to do things behind the wheel they shouldn’t, so it makes sense to have distracted-driving laws in place for all of the states; not just Washington. For those looking to make a change in your state, you can find more information at … www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov while reading a few facts on the subject at www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving .  We can all make a difference and pledge to ‘Just Drive’ and be an attentive driver, ensuring the safety of others as well as ourselves.  As the month of April approaches keep in mind that it’s ‘Distracted Driving  Awareness’ month; you can help educate others so everyone can spread awareness by placing posters in public areas we all share, such as libraries, schools and other public locations. You can find forms for this along with more information at … https://forms.nsc.org/distracteddriving_pledge.aspx . It’s truly important to acknowledge the dangers which exist by driving distracted; let’s be mindful of one another and save lives on our roads beginning now, because we are all loved and precious to someone.

 

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