FOCUSED DRIVING IS SAFE DRIVING

FOCUSED DRIVING IS SAFE DRIVING

90% of Washington drivers avoid distractions while driving.

But until we get to 100%, our roads aren’t as safe as they could be.

The number one thing you can do to help:
Put your phone away while driving. And help others do the same.

Set it and forget it: Turn your phone off, set it to do not disturb, or put it in airplane mode.

Out of reach, out of mind: Put your phone physically out of reach, like in the glove box, backseat, or trunk – or give it to a passenger.

Plan ahead: Schedule 10 minutes before you hit the road to take care of things that could distract you like phone calls, eating, or setting up navigation or music for your drive.

Take a break: For longer trips, build in breaks every two or three hours to use your phone, change playlists or have a snack.

Speak up: If you’re riding with someone who is distracted while driving, ask them (politely) to put away their phone. It might feel a little uncomfortable at first, but it’s important. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Show them you care: be clear that your driver’s safety is important to you.
  2. Stay calm: be clear and direct, without getting angry or agitated.
  3. Be confident: acknowledge the dangers of distracted driving directly.

Example:

“Can I send that text for you or help find a spot to pull over? Distracted driving is really dangerous and I want to make sure we stay safe.”

Set the ground rules: Set clear expectations in your family about how to handle cell phones and other distractions on the road.

Set the example: Always put your phone out of reach when you drive to help your family members pick up the habit. Remember: no matter how old your kids are, they’re learning to drive from your example!

Make the car a device-free zone: Enjoy the ride and surroundings rather than letting people use their phones or game systems in your car.

Pop quiz: When driving with your kids, talk with them about how to be a focused driver and use examples from your surroundings to quiz them on driving safely.

Think before you call: Avoid calling family members or friends when you know they’re driving.

Schedule strategically: Don’t book calls or meetings during your travel time.

Put safety on the agenda: Begin team calls by asking if anyone is on the road. If so, ask them to pull over or call back when they’re parked somewhere safely.

Block your travel time: Indicate on your calendar when you’ll be on the road so that others know not to book meetings at those times.

Set your office hours: Establish specific times you are available to make and take calls.

Make a policy: Set the expectation among leadership that they will not call their staff (or expect staff to answer calls) while driving. Download our Distracted Driving Policy Toolkit here.

WASHINGTON’S DISTRACTED DRIVING LAW

It is against the law for Washington drivers to use hand-held cell phones while they are driving. This includes all electronic devices, including phones, tablets, laptops, and video games.

No hand-held cell phone use while driving

  • Even when stopped in traffic or at a traffic light
  • No typing messages or accessing information
  • No watching videos or using cameras

You CAN use your device if you are:

  • Hands free (such as using Bluetooth) and can start use by a single touch or swipe without holding the phone
  • Parked or out-of-the-flow of traffic
  • Starting your GPS or music before you drive
  • Contacting emergency services

Penalties for distracted driving

  • A first ticket for driving distracted (E-DUI) costs $136
  • Fines for repeat offenses are $234
  • These citations will be reported to your insurance company
  • There is also a Dangerously Distracted secondary law that allows law enforcement to give an additional $99 citation if you are pulled over for another traffic violation caused by distraction

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