SPOKANE, Wash — The new distracted driving law has been in effect for three days and some Washington drivers are already up in arms.
More than 17,000 people signed an online petition to change the distracted driving law Tuesday. The petition creator is looking to rewrite the law and remove the secondary offense of "eating, drinking and grooming" from the policy.
However, the Washington Secretary of State office said the electronic signatures will not have any legal impact because someone would have to formally file an initiative to make any changes to the law.
In order for a petition to actually change the distracted driving law, a sponsor would have to file an "initiative to the people" or an "initiative to the 2018 legislature" through the office of the Secretary of State.
You can do that right now with a $5 filing fee.
The Secretary of State's office said both types of initiatives require a minimum of 260,000 signatures from registered voters. However, the office recommends a total of 325,000 signatures to allow for invalid signatures.
According to the petition page, the creator wants to give the signatures to the state senate. In order to do that, they would need to file an initiative to the 2018 legislature. Signatures can be collected until December 29, 2017.
Once all signatures are collected and approved, the legislature has three options:
- It can enact the proposal into law as is.
- It can take no action on the proposal, which would place it on the next General Election ballot.
- It can make changes to the proposal, which would place the original and amended measures on the November ballot.
If the initiative goes to a vote, it would occur in November 2018 and would have to be approved by a majority vote. Only then would drivers see a change to the distracted driving law.
KREM2 reached out to Angela Cruze, the creator of the online petition, to confirm if she plans to formally file an initiative. We have not received a response.