Study: Distracted driving fatalities down in Wash. since E-DUI law went into effect

4 things to know for April 1

SPOKANE, Wash. — Fatalities from distracted driving are down in Washington state, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Data from WTSC show a decrease in distraction-related fatalities since 2017, when the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act went into effect.

According to WTSC, 155 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2016. In 2019, 33 fewer distracted driving-related deaths occurred.

“Washington’s Distracted Driving law is working,” said Erika Mascorro, WTSC Program Manager. “The data shows that Washington culture around distracted driving is changing. With Washingtonians at home observing the governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, now is a good opportunity to review the importance of being an attentive driver, so our families will be safer when we all return to the road.”

The WTSC 2019 Traffic Safety Culture Survey found the majority of Washingtonians know using a hand-held cell phone while driving or sitting at a traffic light is illegal. The study also found 69 percent agree that using a hand-held cell phone while driving is dangerous.

“Most drivers in Washington are off their phones when they are on the road, and the numbers of attentive drivers have increased since the new law went into effect,” said Mascorro. “We’ve made progress in Washington, but we can each do more. Aim to have zero distracted drivers in your family.”