Drivers who text in school zones may face steep fines

Bill would double fine for motorists caught using a cellphone or device in school zone

  • Wednesday, January 30, 2019 5:11pm
  • News

By Sean Harding, WNPA Olympia News Bureau

A proposed bill would double the fine for motorists caught using a cellphone in a school, playground or crosswalk speed zone to up to $234 per infraction, or up to $468 for repeat offenders.

Washington’s first law to address texting-while-driving — it also prohibited applying makeup and eating while driving — went into effect two years ago.

“One of the primary crosswalks I sit at is Mill Creek Elementary,” said Christine White, a patrol officer with the Mill Creek Police Department.

“I have seen people on their cell phones talking, texting, reading, doing other things besides actually paying attention to what is in front of them,” she said. “I’ve had to smack the side of cars, and fortunately I have a very hard ring and it gets their attention.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 individuals were killed and 391,000 were injured in distracted driving-affected accidents in 2015, although it’s not clear how many of those happened in school zones.

The bill would require one half of the fines collected to be deposited in school-zone-safety accounts.

“If we can’t keep our children safe in our communities and their schools, I don’t think there’s anything else we’re going to do in this world that’s going to matter,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek. “This is just an opportunity to keep our children safe.”

If passed, the fines go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

More in News

Public health officials report the first case of severe lung disease related to vaping products in Washington

Washington State Department of Health (DOH) officials are reporting the first confirmed… Continue reading

Local oral surgeons offering a life-changing $50,000 smile makeover

Practice launches first Smiles For Soldiers charitable program to the community

Night work set for A Street SE – 6th Street SE to 17th Street SE | UPDATES

Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 17, through Wednesday, Sept. 25, construction work by Pivetta… Continue reading

KCSO found all but one of the 108 allegations of excessive or unnecessary use of force were justified

The Office of Law Enforcement Oversight has released its annual 2018 report.

Salmon SEEson returns: spot fish coming home to King County rivers and streams

Sockeye, chinook, coho, pink, and chum begin journey from ocean to birthplaces

Free, reduced school meals available

State school superintendent’s office encourages families to apply for programs

RACHEL CIAMPI, Auburn Reporter
Auburn Farmers Market season ends Sept. 22

The Auburn International Farmers Market season is coming to a close at… Continue reading

City aims to collect sales tax money for affordable housing

In the most recent legislative session, lawmakers in Olympia authorized cities and… Continue reading

VRFA fire and rescue blotter | Sept. 13

Between Sept. 2 and 8, the VRFA responded to 227 calls for… Continue reading

Most Read