The state of Washington is making an effort to improve road safety with its new bill to ban smartphone use in cars. If it passes, the new law will make it illegal for a driver to use a mobile phone in the car, other than through hands-free technology.
In 2007, Washington became the first state to outlaw texting and driving, and now the state could expand the law even further. The State Patrol and Washington’s Traffic Safety Commission are pushing for this change to happen fast.
“As our phones have become amazing, they’ve also become more complicated,” Shelly Baldwin with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission said. “Combining that with driving just makes it that much worse.”
Last year, state troopers in Washington pulled over 3,700 people for texting while driving, resulting in 1,800 tickets. Researchers estimate that texting while driving makes a person 23 times more likely to get into an accident and 400% more likely to have their eyes off the road.
94% of drivers support banning texting while driving, but it is unclear if they will be as supportive of laws banning all cellphone activities in cars.
The bill for the new law in Washington is scheduled for a public hearing today at 3:30.