On Tuesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a new distracted driving law. The new law will make it illegal for drivers to use any feature on a cell phone while behind the wheel.
Current state law says that you cannot text while driving and you cannot hold your phone to your ear. The current law still allows you to record, watch a video, Facebook, or do several other things. That will soon change.
Inslee vetoed a section that had the measure take effect in 2019. He said it was too important to wait for the provisions to become law. The law will now take effect in mid-July.
One of the driving forces behind the bill was Tina Meyer. Her son Cody was killed by a distracted driver after he was struck in December of 2015.
“We have to keep updating laws to go with what is going on with the times,” Meyer said. “Cody would have wanted me to try to make a difference with this mess. I can’t change what happened, but maybe we can make a change for the future that can save somebody else’s child.”
“I’m not saying that this would have saved my son’s life, but if this law had been updated sooner, it might have. You never know. It might have,” Meyer said. “The laws are not going to stop people from doing wrong, but if we can start raising a generation of kids that know this is wrong, this is why it’s wrong, and this is what the law is, hopefully, we can stop the behavior.”
The new law will make the first offense reportable to insurance, so rates may change. The fine for the first offense is $136, the fine for the second offense is $245.
“If this law teaches just one person and that person teaches one person it will be a win. We have to take this as a win and continue to teach,” Meyer said.