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Proposed bill targets your smartphone, aims to keep roads safe

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SEATTLE -- If a proposed bill becomes law, doing anything on your phone while you are driving except hands-free talking will be illegal.

"I would just like to see the law come in line with the technology that's there now,” said Shelly Baldwin with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission who along with the Washington State Patrol is pushing for a change in the texting law.

Washington was the first state in the country to outlaw texting and driving in 2007, but people still used flip-phones back then.

"As our phones have become amazing, they've also become more complicated. Combining that with driving just makes it that much worse,” she said.

Last year, troopers made roughly 3,700 traffic stops for people who were texting on their phone. They gave out about 1,800 tickets and the rest got warnings.

Trooper Paul Joyce says he can often tell whether a warning will be enough to change a driver’s behavior. He usually reminds people, "Is it so important that they're willing to risk their life because of that behavior?”

The bill, SB 5656, is scheduled for a public hearing Monday afternoon in the Senate Committee on Transportation at 3:30 p.m.

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7 comments

  • Spencer

    Would this make it illegal to use your “smartphone” to listen to music or use it as a GPS? That’s that I use my iPhone for… I rarely use it to make calls, and if I am driving and have to send a text message I pull over or off the road.

    • BD4

      It sounds like listening to music while driving, no. Searching for music while driving, yes. Using GPS, no. Typing in the address or using a search function while driving, yes. Anything that distracts you from paying attention to the road.

  • Iuki

    My wife and I both have crazy plans and we were just finding less and less time to keep monitor of our daughter’s online activities. After seeing that Dateline To Catch a Predator show, we decided it was time to take action and iset up your parental monitoring software on our daughter’s phone. Beth K.

  • The World is Ending

    Just remember that law enforcement will still be able to text and surf, because they are trained to drive while not watching where they are going, because even when the kid chasing the ball runs out they have “magic powers” and can see the kid and their phone or computer at the same time, and it is completely impossible for them to have an accident while texting it simply can’t happen.

  • Jim from Canada

    What about cars with heads up display ? I saw people gaming, doing emails and even watching porn while driving. Note to dude in Porsche Cayenne on I-520. What you see, we see except in reverse.