Monday, February 13, 2017

Distracted Driving Bill Under Consideration in Olympia

A State Representative from Seattle is asking for tougher distracted driving laws in Washington.
According to the Seattle Times, Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D- Seattle, has proposed House Bill 1371 which would ban use of any handheld device including phones, tablets and games, as well as watching videos while driving.

Under the bill, the current fine of $124 would double for a second offense, and violations would be reported to insurance companies.

It is currently illegal to use a cellphone held at the ear, or to text while driving. That doesn’t forbid holding a phone below the mouth, using Facebook, watching a video, or taking selfies though.

Representatives of AAA, Harborview Medical Center, the Washington State Patrol, paving company Lakeside Industries, Washington DECA high-school students, and the insurance industry testified in support of the bill last week.

Scientific studies suggest that texting — which requires eyes, fingers and brain attention — impairs reaction time similar to a 0.19 blood alcohol content, said Shelly Baldwin of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. The state’s legal limit is 0.08.

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SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

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