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Published on Friday, March 3, 2017

Distracted driving bill on the move

SB 5289 sponsored by Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), and HB 1371 sponsored by Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-Seattle), would update and replace current laws that prohibit the use of hand-held cell phones and texting while driving. The bills would impose stricter regulations on the use of any personal electronic devices in one’s hands while driving. This would include texting, surfing the web, checking one’s social media account, talking with a phone to one’s ear or face, etc. It would permit the use of minimal finger use to active, deactivate, or initiate a function of the device and the use of a hand or finger to control the built-in features of a motor vehicle through the use of a touch screen or control panel. The bills preempt local laws that restrict the use of electronic devices while driving, and double the penalty amount due for second and any subsequent offenses within five years.

Both SB 5289 and HB 1371 are moving through the Legislature.