Distracted driving is bill’s focus

OLYMPIA — The House Transportation Committee has voted to advance legislation updating the state’s distracted driving law.

The Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act, sponsored by Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle, made it out of the committee ahead of the Feb. 17 cutoff deadline for policy bills.

First Substitute House Bill 1371 would prohibit drivers from operating a phone or any electronic device with more than one finger and would effectively eliminate holding a device in one hand behind the wheel, even when the device isn’t held to the ear, Farrell said.

It also would increase the fine for distracted driving, nearly doubling it for repeat offenses. A repeat distracted driving citation also would be reported to a driver’s insurance company, potentially triggering a rate increase.

The bill is in the Rules Committee.


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