distracted driving

Tough new laws against handling a cell phone behind the wheel  took effect in Washington and Oregon this year. Each state’s legislature made it illegal to drive while holding an electronic device for most any reason.

Washington lawmakers will return to the Capitol next week for “Committee Days” in advance of next January’s regular legislative session. Distracted driving and salmon net pens will be on the agenda.

Texting or holding a phone to your ear while driving is already illegal in Washington state. But starting Sunday, Washington state troopers and local police will begin enforcing a toughened law against distracted driving.

We all know that cellphones and driving can be a dangerous mix, and yet a quick glance at the sound of a ping can be irresistible to many motorists.

So beyond turning off your cellphone or leaving it at home, Apple has a new solution aimed at keeping drivers' eyes off the screen and on the road. When Apple's iOS 11 update comes out this fall, it will include a "Do Not Disturb While Driving" mode.

If you're one of the many who text, read email or view Facebook on your phone while driving, be warned: Police in your community may soon have a tool for catching you red-handed.

The new "textalyzer" technology is modeled after the Breathalyzer, and would determine if you had been using your phone illegally on the road.

Put down your phone and drive. That’s the message from Washington lawmakers.

The Washington House passed a new distracted driving law Wednesday and it needs one more vote in the Senate before it goes to the governor.

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.

Lawmakers in Salem and Olympia are debating measures intended to crack down on distracted driving.

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that would make it illegal to check your social media feeds while you're behind the wheel. A House panel takes up the bill Monday afternoon.

In Washington state, there’s no law to keep you from checking Facebook while you drive. But that could change during this year’s legislative session. Lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday that could force you to cut down your phone use on the road -- or pay a hefty fine if you get caught.

If you've felt smug and safe using built-in, voice-controlled technology for text messages, email and phone calls while driving, forget it. There are some sobering findings about the risk of distraction from the American Automobile Association and the University of Utah.

The proliferation of hands-free technology "is a looming public safety crisis," AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet says. "It's time to consider limiting new and potentially dangerous mental distractions built into cars."

Paula Wissel

Have you ever been tempted to respond to a text message while you’re behind the wheel?

Texting while driving is illegal in Washington state, but the practice is common enough that the state plans to launch a full scale campaign against it along the lines of the “Click it or Ticket” campaign that promotes seat belt use.