WSP: More than 5,000 stopped for violating new distracted driving law

KING 5's Natalie Swaby reports.

Near Pike Place Market, above State Route 99, tourist Chris Kettner was able to easily spot the people driving distracted.

"That guy is having a cheeseburger. She is texting. He is doing something on his phone," said Kettner, as he watched the evening commute Thursday.

Since late July, when Washington state rolled out a stricter distracted driving law, troopers have stopped 5,083 drivers for operating a vehicle and holding an electronic device at the same time. Nearly 400 were stopped for being dangerously distracted, which can involve eating or drinking while driving.

Out of the 5,083 distracted by electronics, only 770 received citations, according to WSP. Most drove off with a warning. Fines start at $136 for the first offense.

 

Distracted driving non-electronic is a secondary offense, meaning if you are stopped for something else and a law enforcement officer sees you are eating or drinking, then you could receive a $99 fine.

"The problem with texting while driving is you are not even paying attention," said Kettner.

In a majority of recent stops, troopers have given drivers a warning because the law is new. However, a WSP spokesperson says the grace period ends in a few months. 

Find more information on the distracted driving law.

© 2017 KING-TV


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