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King County Marks Distracted Driving Law's One-Year Anniversary with Increased Patrols

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New study shows that some motorists are still unsure about details of
law

Today marks one year since Governor Jay Inslee signed Washington's
Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (E-DUI) law into effect.
Under the E-DUI law, drivers may not hold cell phones or watch videos
while they are driving, stopped in traffic, or at a stop light. The law
restricts hands-free use to a single touch.

Law enforcement agencies in King County are running extra patrols from
July 23 to July 29 to look out for distracted drivers and increase the
safety of King County's roadways. The first E-DUI ticket costs drivers
$136. If the driver incurs a second ticket within five years, the fine
increases to $234.

"Distracted driving contributes to countless traffic injuries and deaths
every year," says Sergeant Brian Williams of the Auburn Police
Department. "These tragedies are completely preventable by focusing on
the road and putting away or turning off phones while driving."

The King County Target Zero Task Force recently conducted a study to
learn how well motorists understand and adhere to the law. The study
found that a number of drivers are still unsure if it is legal to enter
information into a GPS system while driving (only if it can be done with
a single touch), use a cell phone while stopped at an intersection
(illegal), or dial 9-1-1 while driving in the case of an emergency
(legal).

The survey also revealed that while drivers in King County acknowledge
that using a phone while driving is dangerous and understand it's
illegal, many are still reluctant to put their phone away. More than 70
percent of the 900 King County drivers surveyed viewed texting or
emailing by others while driving as a very serious personal threat.
However, 75 percent of drivers believe it's very unlikely that they
will crash their vehicle by texting while driving.

"Our goal is to make putting your phone away as common as putting your
seat belt on," says Sergeant Robb Kramp of the Mercer Island Police
Department. "One out of four crashes involve cell phone use just prior
to the crash, but if we all commit to focusing on driving and not our
phones, we can save lives in our community."

Drivers can visit the Washington Traffic Safety Commission's Target
Zero website
to learn all the dos and don'ts of the new law.
Materials are available in seven languages.

Agencies participating in the extra patrols this week include: Algona,
Auburn, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Burien, Covington, Des Moines,
Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Lake Forest
Park, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Pacific, Port of Seattle,
Redmond, Sammamish, SeaTac, Seattle, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, and Tukwila
police departments.

ABOUT KING COUNTY TARGET ZERO TASK FORCE

Extra patrols are partially funded by the Washington Traffic Safety
Commission with the coordination of the King County Target Zero Task
Force. The Task Force brings together representatives from law
enforcement, public health, health and human services, transportation
and community organizations to coordinate traffic safety campaigns
throughout King County.

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