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More than half of King County drivers are not using handheld phones while driving

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, the King County Target Zero Task Force announced that law enforcement agencies in King County are deploying High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) patrols from July 22 to August 2 to look out for drivers who are violating Washington’s Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (E-DUI) law. The HVE enforcement period marks the two-year anniversary of Governor Jay Inslee signing the E-DUI law into effect.

Under the E-DUI law, drivers may not hold cell phones or watch videos while they are driving, stopped in traffic, or at a stop light. The law restricts hands-free use to a single touch. The first E-DUI ticket costs drivers $136. If the driver incurs a second ticket within five years, the fine increases to $234.

“Most King County drivers are putting their phone away when behind the wheel, but distracted driving continues to be a significant threat to public safety,” said Sergeant Robb Kramp of Mercer Island Police Department. “We’re asking drivers to eliminate cell phone distractions to help improve road safety.”

In order to measure how well Washington’s drivers understand and adhere to the law, the King County Target Zero Task Force recently conducted a survey of 929 King County motorists. The study found that more than half of the drivers surveyed responded that they had “never” used a handheld cell phone within the last 30 days to text, talk or operate other apps while driving.

“We are encouraged that the survey showed the majority of drivers in King County are staying off of the phone and paying full attention to the road,” said Annie Kirk, King County Target Zero Manager. “However, the survey also showed that while 95% of drivers reported they believe it is unacceptable to text or email while driving, we still have many people doing so when behind the wheel.”

Agencies participating in the extra patrols include: Algona, Auburn, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Burien, Covington, Des Moines, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Pacific, Port of Seattle, Redmond, Sammamish, SeaTac, Seattle, Shoreline, Snoqualmie, and Tukwila police departments. The campaign is part of the county’s work to reach the statewide Target Zero goal of no fatalities and serious injuries by 2030.

Drivers can visit the Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s Target Zero website to learn all the dos and don’ts of the E-DUI law. Materials are available in seven languages.

ABOUT KING COUNTY TARGET ZERO TASK FORCE

Extra patrols are partially funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission with the coordination of the King County Target Zero Task Force. The Task Force brings together representatives from law enforcement, public health, health and human services, transportation and community organizations to coordinate traffic safety campaigns throughout King County.

Contacts

Annie Kirk, King County Target Zero Task Force, 360-319-3321, [email protected]