Distracted driving kills. Lawmakers are taking action to curb this dangerous behavior. In July 2017, Washington State passed one of the strictest laws in the nation regarding the use of electronic devices while driving. And while this law is only currently in effect in Washington, it may soon spread across the country. We hope it does.
Defining the E-DUI Law
Called an E-DUI, or driving under the influence of electronics, this new law makes it illegal for drivers to hold a handheld electronic device while driving. Even phoning emergency services is only legal if the car is pulled over and safely out of traffic’s way. The law also forbids using map apps, changing music, watching videos, and especially talking or texting on a phone while driving. The law applies to all drivers in Washington State regardless of age.
Here in Indiana, there are currently laws against texting and driving. Moreover, Indiana drivers cannot talk on their phones unless they are using a hands-free device. However, unlike in Washington, Indiana drivers over the age of 18 are allowed to hold electronic devices while driving.
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Why is Distracted Driving Considered Dangerous?
Holding a device while driving is extremely risky behavior. Any distraction that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road for even one second can cause fatal accidents. One look at your phone to use the GPS system for directions, or flip between music playlists, can lead to a devastating car crash and horrific injuries.
Historically, Washington State has been a leader in creating new distracted driving laws. In fact, it was the first to pass laws making texting while driving illegal. We hope lawmakers across the country notice Washington State’s E-DUI law and its positive effects on public safety—and follow suit.
Even though using a phone while driving in Indiana is currently considered legal, doing so is the equivalent to driving blind. The people of Indiana and across the United States can choose to make the responsible decision each day when they turn on their car. Drive smart and drive safe; put down the phone and pay attention to the road. Other people’s lives depend on it.