Last week, Washington State’s new distracted driving law went into effect. Beyond the existing law of texting or having the phone to your ear while driving, Washingtonians are now prohibited to even hold a personal electronic device while stopped in traffic. Moms, check this – the law also prohibits eating or applying make-up while driving.
This might be embarrassing to admit but I frequently would change a podcast, send a text or even apply mascara at a stoplight. This new law was speaking right to me. I was sure once the day came I would have a hard time breaking some of my old and dangerous habits.
But to my pleasant surprise, I was wrong.
I drove to work the first day the first day this law was in effect and something amazing happened. I stopped in my driveway and I prepared for my drive in. This meant plugging my phone into the charger and reminding myself it would stay there until I pulled into work. And it did.
I found myself policing other cars thinking, “I wonder if they remember today is the day we all get smarter and stop texting at traffic lights?”
On the way home from picking my kids up from camp that day, I drove by a cop car. My heart raced. My phone was in my purse in the trunk at that point so I knew I clearly wasn’t violating any phone laws. However, I immediately feared getting pulled over. I was drinking out of my water bottle as I drove (at the speed limit) past him. I immediately second guessed if that too is now illegal.
I googled it once I arrived home (no, I had not been pulled over!).
From what I gather, it is NOT illegal to take a swig of water while driving. My husband laughed at me when I questioned if I could drink (water) and drive. But I still think it could be viewed as being distracted so I might ask my brother who is an actual cop.
Clearly I am a bit paranoid.
A week in and I am a huge fan of this new law. I didn’t realize just how often I was glancing at my phone while stopped in traffic. It is terrifying and I hope other states get smart like Washington to pass laws in favor of us all truly paying attention while on the road.
Dear Washington, please now pass a law that will get my kids to stop fighting in the backseat causing distraction.
What are your thoughts on this new law? Do you think it will help keep our roads safer?