Republicans Push Back On Distracted Driving Bill In Washington Legislature

Mar 8, 2017

You may brag about your ability to multitask, but lawmakers in the Pacific Northwest insist you don’t do it behind the wheel. The Washington Legislature passed a pair of bills this week that would increase penalties for dangerous driving habits.

And some lawmakers hoped for an even wider approach.

During a House debate Tuesday, some Republicans took issue with the distracted driving bill. Rep. Dave Hayes proposed an amendment that would have broadened the definition of distracted driving to include any activity unrelated to a vehicle’s operation.

“That distraction might be anything from eating your french fries to petting your dog to putting on your makeup,” Hayes said.

Those changes were struck down.

If enacted, the distracted driving measure would outlaw holding any mobile device behind the wheel, except in case of emergency. It would also double fines for those who violate the law more than once.

Some opponents called it an “anti-technology” bill while others said personal responsibility should guide drivers’ habits.

The Senate passed its own version of the bill late Monday. Lawmakers in Oregon heard similar legislation this week.