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King County Increases Patrols to Monitor for Distracted Drivers in Fourth Year of E-DUI Law

New survey shares two-year update on King County drivers’ use of handheld devices while driving

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The King County Target Zero Task Force today announced law enforcement agencies in King County are deploying High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) patrols from July 25 to August 7 to monitor distracted drivers violating Washington’s Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (E-DUI) law. 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 remains a priority for the King County Target Zero Task Force and the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission. This is the third year HVE patrols have been deployed since Governor Jay Inslee signed the E-DUI law into effect four years ago. 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.

“Distracted driving continues to be a leading contributor to serious traffic injuries and deaths every year,” says Sergeant Robb Kramp from the Mercer Island Police Department and King County Target Zero Task Force Law Enforcement Liaison. “These incidents are completely preventable, and we are asking everyone to stay focused on their driving and help us reach our vision of zero traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030.”

The King County Target Zero Task Force recently conducted a survey of over 900 King County motorists to learn how well they understand and adhere to the E-DUI law. Their results found that 95% of drivers surveyed viewed texting or emailing while driving is a threat. The study also found that a majority of respondents reported using safe driving practices and found it “completely unacceptable” to text or use a hand-held cell phone to talk, text or use apps while driving.

“Our roads are safer when drivers are responsible and distraction-free,” says Sara Wood, Target Zero Manager, South King County. “Learning simple behaviors like setting your phone to do not disturb, handing it off to a passenger or keeping out of arm’s reach could legitimately save someone’s life.”

Agencies participating in the extra patrols 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, Normandy Park, Pacific, Port of Seattle, Redmond, Sammamish, SeaTac, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, and Tukwila police departments.

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

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.

The WTSC and participating law enforcement agencies condemn profiling. Trained and commissioned law enforcement officers will be conducting these patrols enforcing traffic violations as defined by Washington State laws.

Contacts

Christiaan Boer, cboer@cplusc.com, 406-360-5239

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