Our Northwest

Sometimes, feeling guilty is a good thing

Wednesday, July 11, 2018by  Derek Wing

distracted driving 3.jpgMany drivers are resisting the pull of the ping.

That's the upshot of the latest PEMCO Northwest Poll, which revealed nearly two-thirds of Northwesterners say they're now at least a little more cautious about using the phone when driving, thanks to stiffer E-DUI laws in Washington and Oregon.

And about a quarter say they're waaaaaay less likely to drive distracted.

Virtually all use of a handheld device behind the wheel is a primary offense. In Washington, that's a $136 fine for first-timers and $234 for two-time offenders. In Oregon, drivers caught holding a device face penalties of $130 to $1,000 for a first offense and about double for their second. And if those Beaver Staters get caught three times in a 10-year span? It could cost them $2,500 and six months in jail. Troopers in both states have handed out more than 12,000 E-DUI warnings and tickets since last summer.

Just makes sneaking a peek at that goofy cat video a little less LOL-worthy.

The shift comes as a sign that drivers may be taking the "hang up and drive" message to heart. And that's a start – even if people aren't always willing to admit that distraction was a problem for them in the first place.

Makes you think about what's next. Maybe an "S-DUI" law for all those I-5 groomers shaving on the onramps? Or how about a "C-DUI" for the cheeseburger aficionados getting their WHOPPER® fix somewhere between Drive and Park?

Read the complete Local PEMCO Northwest Poll, in which Seattle's FBK Research surveyed 1,200 Washington and Oregon residents. 

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