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Breaking News! New Distracted Driving Laws

DISTRACTED DRIVING LAWS COMING TO WASHINGTON THIS WEEKEND

Fox Plumbing & Heating has always been committed to helping our community of friends, family, and neighbors. In that spirit, we have put together this blog post to help educate our community of a new law that will be affecting how many of us get to and from work. As of Sunday, July 23, you will no longer be able to use a handheld electronic device while driving – even if you’re at a stoplight or stuck in traffic along the I-5 corridor.

First, we would like to thank AAA Research Foundation for their work on this topic. They have done a wonderful article on this change in the law. You can read their article here.

The most important thing is that a violation of the Distracted Driving Law will cost you anywhere from $136 to $235. That is why you’ll be seeing some proactive changes from Fox Plumbing & Heating after this weekend.

Fox Plumbing & Heating will be providing all of our technicians with Bluetooth headsets as of Monday, July 24th. We will be outfitting all of our technicians with new headsets to comply with the Washington State Distracted Driving Law. While there is a provision that allows for commercial vehicles to be exempt from this law, it is Fox’s belief that this will allow our crew to focus on getting to your home safely and on time. That is why we are working on taking the distraction out of their driving.

Like everyone, being distracted at the wheel will cause you to have a slower reaction time. You tend to scan the road less and can miss important signs or changes in the flow of traffic. These distractions can lead to a crash or even death.

Here is What You Need to Know About the Distracted Driving Law

The law goes into effect on Sunday, July 23, 2017. It will be illegal to use or operate a handheld personal electronic device while driving. That includes being stopped at a traffic sign/light or stopped in traffic.

What Does Using or Operating Mean?

  • Holding your cell phone or personal electronic device.
  • Using your hand or finger to compose, send, read, view, access, browse, transmit, save, or retrieve email, tweet, snapchat, text message, IM, take a picture or use of other such electronic data.
  • Watch videos on your device.

Whom is Excluded From This New Law?

  • If you are pulled over to the side or shoulder of the road. You must also be stopped in a location where you will remain safe and stationary.
  • If you are in the process of attempting to contact emergency services.
  • The minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of a device.
  • Operating an authorized vehicle, such as a bus, police car, ambulance or state issued vehicle.
  • Operating a commercial vehicle and need to operate an electronic device within the scope your job.

What Is Legal?

  • Using hands-free personal electronic devices and devices that are integrated into your vehicle.

Consequences:

  • The first infraction of the Distracted Driving Law is a traffic infection totaling a $136 fine.
  • The infraction will be reported to your insurance company and may affect your premiums.
  • Second and subsequent tickets within a five-year period will double the penalty. A second and subsequent ticket can total a $235 fine.

If you get pulled over for a driving infraction, and you’re found that you are dangerously distracted when committing the driving infraction, you will receive an additional $99 fine. This includes things such as grooming, smoking, eating, or having a pet in your lap.

Fox Plumbing & Heating Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

  1. Turn off your electronic device or place it somewhere where you won’t be tempted to reach for it while you are driving.
  2. Take steps to prepare for your drive: check for traffic, tune the radio, set your GPS, adjust your mirror, finish eating, and anything that will distract you from the road.
  3. If something really needs your attention then pull-off the road and find a safe location.
  4. Make a friend your navigator, enlist their help with directions, watching children, changing the music, and other simple tasks that would otherwise distract the driver.
  5. Store loose items that could create dangerous situations while driving. Always check under the driver’s seat to ensure that nothing will roll out or get stuck under the pedals while driving. This will also keep you from being tempted to reach for items while driving.

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