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Holding cell phone while driving would become primary offense under Eide bill

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Dec. 31, 2009 at 3:25 pm with 28 Comments »
December 31, 2009 3:39 pm

Federal Way Sen. Tracey Eide will promote a bill to make cell phone use in cars a primary offense next week by offering drivers tests to newsies in Seattle.

Eide, who championed the existing law banning cell-phone use without a hands free device and all texting, is planning to make the law more stringent this next session. Currently police can issue citations only after stopping drivers for another offense such as speeding or inattentive driving. Her bill would allow police to make stops and issue tickets if they see drivers holding phones to their ears.

“Studies show that texting drivers are as dangerous on the road as drivers with a blood-alcohol level of .16 — twice the legal limit,” Eide said in a statement. “When you consider that two-thirds of teen drivers say they text and drive, we’ve got a critical public-safety issue on our hands. We need to strengthen our laws.”

A companion bill will be introduced in the House by Seattle Democrat Reuven Carlyle.

The driving tests for the news media will be done in the Qwest Field parking lots on Wednesday. Safety experts will monitor how drivers respond to a test course while talking into a hand-held device versus using a hands free device.

Research has shown that cell-phone use and texting are distractions and could lead to increased accidents. But the same research has shown that the distractions are not significantly lessened while using hands-free devices. The distraction comes not from holding the phone but from holding the conversation. There are no proposals, however, to ban all cell phone conversations while driving.

Leave a comment Comments → 28
  1. But legalizing Marijuana is not going to put more inattentive morons on the road? Pull your head out Lady. Too bad stupidity isn’t painful – Sheesh !

  2. rampoloparent says:

    Didn’t we expect this would happen? Give them an inch and they micromanage your life.

  3. I agree texting while driving should be illegal. But as far as hand held phones, I’ve found messing with a headset while driving to be much more dangerous then holding a phone. While I do obey the law, this is a STOOPID law.

  4. I’m a bicyclist in Puyallup. When I see a driver on a cellphone I treat them as if they were unconscious. I let them go first.

  5. justin_yorbum says:

    Guess Federal Way needs more cash to run their operations.

  6. sunup500 says:

    Looking for another way to get into your wallets…….The truth is if the law that is already in place was inforced, there would be no need to add another. It is a law that the operator shall maintain control of their vehicle with BOTH hands. That implies no eating, drinking, smoking, dialing in the radio, talking on the phone or texting. A police officer has discretion on stopping a vehicle for any of those infractions. They don’t. They can. I say prosecute the morons that cause the problems with laws on the books. We already have laws regarding driving intoxicated, but that doesn’t stop them from doing it. what makes a long winded politician think another law will change things? 2 things come to mind. Arrogance, and electioneering.

  7. rob5555 says:

    It is far to convenient and productive not to talk while driving. Drivers will not modify their behavior because of this law. Sorry, this battle was lost long ago.

  8. orhs1963 says:

    Except for the “bicyclist in Puyallup” everyone that has submitted their two-cents worth believes this is a stupid proposed law being submitted for consideration. I lost my 44 year nephew who was exercising by riding a bicycle in broad daylight to a driver who was texting. The road was straight, no hills, weather was clear, and nothing along the side of the road so my nephew would have blended into the background. The driver hit my nephew going 60 MPH, there were no braking marks, and the driver admitted “he didn’t see him”.

    For those that believe this proposed law is going to far, what is “so important in your life that is worth taking another person’s life” just to talk or text while driving? Is it you just cannot wait 5, 10, 30, 60 minutes longer to talk to your friends – if it is that important then don’t take a person’s life; find a place to pull over and talk or text.

    If one choose to talk and text then to get everyone’s attention the bill does not go far enough as it should be a requirement for the traffic ticket to be reported to the driver’s insurance company and the insurance company then can impose the same increase in insurance premiums as that of a DWI driver or cancel the insurance if the driver is convicted on the second offense.

  9. papasan says:

    Now we can move on to the important things: What really pisses me off. People that drive with their dog in the car. which is a distraction when it’s climbing all over. WHY, WHY, WHY do this tiny brained creature (I DON’T mean the dog) feel it’s essential to bring the dog out and then lock him in the front of a pickup truck with no fresh air, water or food. If the dog was truley smart, he would take a good, long, healthy doo-doo right on the front seat. IT’S INHUMANE to treat an animal this way. Lock him up. lonely, afraid? It’s no wonder he snapped and barked and growled when I loaded my groceries next to the truck at Costco. I wish that Police would make it a higher priority and jail them for neglect.
    Why bring the dog to Costco anyway? He can’t go inside. Wait til Summer. First one I see locked in a car with the windows up, panting like crazy, A large brick will fall from the sky breaking out the glass and freeing little ‘skippy’ or ‘Poe-Poe”, or ‘Dolly’. The “Doggy Hero” has arrived in Tacoma. Hoping to educate thr citizenry one broken window at a time.

  10. SearchAndScan says:

    This is terrible to write, but it’s true that it’s asinine to ride a bike on the road even if you don’t have another form of transportation. There are so many bad drivers in such a huge proportion that it’s foolish to put your lives so easily in their hands. Should it be that way? No, but we see that people drive into service and police vehicles, that are off the road, with lights flashing! This isn’t just about distracted drivers. There are a whole lot of bad drivers out there.

  11. papasan says:

    ADD: Sunup, You are correct in asserting that a law exists stating that there is to be no drinking while driving. We’re not talking booze, hooch, rotgut, beer, but ANYTHING AT ALL. My brother-in-law, a Sergeant with the Seattle Police told us that it IS ILLEGAL to consume a beverage at any time while operating the motor vehicle. Reason: DISTRACTION. Your life is NOT so important so as you can’t take a minute and pull ove and make your call. I do it. Admittedly, I have answered and put it on speaker. My daughter got me a “Jupiter Jack” for Christmas. I travel nearly 700 miles every 6-8 weeks or so transporting my two college-aged sons to school in Cheney and Ellensberg. Round trip, 700 miles It’s a long boring drive in some places and a friendly voice is a wonderful pick-up.
    I’m hoping that the Jupiter Jack is the answer for us. They’re 2/$10. Can’t beat that price.

  12. ronroberts says:

    I agree that texting while driving is pretty stupid.. But being stopped for merly holding a cell phone. Get serious.. Like was said, little by litle they are taking our lives away.

  13. mcgyver says:

    I’m a bit confused by some of the statements here. I have to honestly believe that most of the people who commented didn’t read anything more than the headline. Texting while driving is equivalent to driving with a .16 Blood Alcohol Level (twice the legal limit). The new law makes it so they can pull you over for witnessing you holding a phone to your ear. Too simple. Long overdue. Quit being a cheapass and buy a bluetooth headset.

  14. mcgyver says:

    Papasan, your brother in law is an idiot. There is no such law governing non alcoholic beverages. If there was a cop could pull over everyone leaving a fast food restaurant and give them a ticket.

  15. Tracey Eide recognized the problem on Jan 29, 1999 when our two little Granddaughters Jennifer & Jessica Rhoades were killed in a Tee-bone wreck caused by a men with a cell phone in his hand. Nothing will bring those two beautiful girls back, and anyone who clings to his phone is a FOOL.

    Ms. Eide was confronted by the Cell Lobby for years until she finally prevailed.

    Grandpa Rhoades

  16. DeschutesMan says:

    For most people eating food is not like talking to a person in a conversation (I said most). The people I see talking on their cell phones remind me that majority of them can’t walk and chew bubble gum at the same time.

    Make it a law they can cite them for being stupid. Or is there one already?
    Or yea, jaywalking and crossing in the middle of the road.

  17. mr_sandman says:

    It’s about time!
    They should make this a federal law.
    Teens that text or talk whie driving: hefty fine and lose your license until 21.
    Adults, fine their wallet a few hundred dollars for first offense.
    If they don’t get it, double the fine and take their license for 30 days. How many lives will be saved then?
    If I don’t have my bluetooth in, I don’t answer. If it’s that important, pull over.
    Everyday on the I-5 corridor I see texting or on the cell, even in the carpool and fastlane(slower traffic keep right anyways). I also ride motorcycle, these dumba**es don’t even know I’m there.

  18. whyshuudi says:

    You know what? DeschutesMan is right on the money with his comments! MOST drivers can not talk and drive safely at the same time. I would say at least 80% of the population would fall into that category, if not more. I mean the gum chewing, hair flipping, lipstick gliding phone talkers are everywhere because that is their main focus in life! Talking on the phone with a load of animation to go with it. Those types DO scare me. The other 20%, which of course is the category that DeschutesMan and I fall in, don’t talk on the phone and drive if we don’t have to.. If we need to though, we can, huh Deschutes? I don’t know how most people navigate through life. They all just simply annoy me.

  19. sheyingshi says:

    Sen. Eide and Rep. Caryle are barking up the wrong tree. It’s not specifically talking on a cell phone, but doing anything distracting while driving. If they wanted to cary there idea to its logical conclusion they would try and pass a law against doing *anything* while driving except concentrating on the job at hand. Of course we can all see how far that would go as soon as people would be given a ticket for talking to a passenger or listening to the radio.

    Another point is that it’s not so much the holding a cell phone that causes the bad driving we’ve all been exposed to, but the distraction of making the phone call and dividing one’s attention between the road and the call. So I doubt if it will do much good to just limit phone calls to hands free devices.

    While I commiserate with those who’ve lost a loved one to a distracted driver, I don’t believe that a poorly defined law will help solve the problem.

  20. I’m all for it!!!
    I would also like to see them ban cell phones from public places too.
    It is RUDE to be yakking on cell phones while in bank lines, restaurants etc.
    Just like smoking… ban cells from public places.

  21. the3rdpigshouse says:

    I have a novel idea – why don’t we put those people who can’t find anything to do that is constructive in Olympia, to work creating “JOBS” for the citizens of Washington!!!!!

  22. malaglot says:

    I’m all for safety but are we really going to base a law on a 9 page study done by the Psych. dept at the University of Utah where they only tested 40 people in a driving simulator? Really?

  23. malaglot says:

    mr_sandman says:
    January 1, 2010 at 11:12 am
    “It’s about time!
    They should make this a federal law.”

    Ummmm No. Pick up a copy of the Constitution and take note of the 18 enumerated powers in Article 1 section 9. Then Read the 10th amendment. Only the states have the authority to address this issue not the Federal Government. It’s called Federalism. Know it. Love it.

  24. sylandad says:

    This law will be good. Let’s make it so that police don’t talk on their cell phones either. Often I see them on theirs and wonder if the call they are on is an emergency???

  25. Past this law!!
    I know I have been driving while on the holding a cell phone, and yes I have had a close call. (I have never had an accident and only 1 ticket in my 33+ years of drving)
    So now I let it ring. Not answering a call is a lot better than hurting or killing someone.
    Of course we could just ban cell phones totally…kind of like it was15 years ago, before cells phones were even around, yes we did we survive without them.

  26. papasan says:

    Some of you just don’t get it.
    Laws, ALL laws are made to protect the populace from the stupity of ourselves or others. Jaywalking, speeding, running stop lights, seat belts, all these are examples.
    Talking on a cell phone and texting fall under the same category or stupid things people do while driving. Since people can’t seem to curb their stupid behavior it is put upon the Legislature to make a law in an attempt to curb the stupid behavior FOR them.
    I agree that having to make a law for this is ridiculous, no less ridiculous than the behavior itself, however.
    Stupid laws are to prevent stupid people from causing injury or death to those of us that have the sense to not talk on the phone while controlling 11/2 tons of steel down the road at 40 MPH while surrounded by other people of unknown intelligence. Write the law!

  27. reformedliberal says:

    Police officers are exempt from the current cell phone ban. What do you suppose the chances are they will be subject to this new law? And if they are not exempted, what do you suppose the chances are that they will honor it?

  28. FreeAmerica says:

    The state authority to permit signage along major highways designed to distract should start the lawsuits.
    Can’t the elected do better?? Time for real change.

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