SEATTLE — Washington's E-DUI law is now five years old.
The law bans any hand-held phone use while behind the wheel, which even applies if you're completely stopped, like at a stop sign or red light.
For the law's fifth anniversary, King County plans to increase patrols to monitor distracted drivers. Those efforts will continue until Aug. 6.
"Really the message for drivers is to put their phones away, focus on driving that is your only job," said Sara Wood.
It is Wood's job with the King County Target Zero Task Force to inform drivers the dangers that come with distracted driving.
"Within King County, distraction is number three behind speeding and impairment and so it is causing our serious injuries, fatal on our roadways that is the reality," Wood said.
Washington Department of Transportation said there were 13,758 crashes in King County caused by distracted driving in 2017. The number of distracted driving crashes decreased every year since, with the E-DUI law in place. Last year there were about 4,988 crashes.
"It's a safety issue and so it seems like often times they might drunk swerving in and out of the lanes, it's like you're having to dodge them, so it's a safety issue, we want everybody to be you know alive," said Chris Riley.
Five years after the E-DUI law went into effect, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and King County Target Zero Task Force conducted a survey of more than 900 King County drivers. Ninety-three percent of drivers feel threatened when other drivers text or email while driving, 82 percent feel threatened when other drivers talk on their phone and 87 percent of drivers said they were unlikely to text or email while driving.
"Have I ever done it in my life, yes, I have,” said Tim Rogers. “I don't live in a glass house here, so I have done it in the past, but I really try not to do it."
That's the goal for the county and the state, for drivers to try and stay off their phones while driving.
"All of us are just trying to get from point A to point B and we all literally have a hand in whether or not we make it," Wood said.