Inslee signs tougher distracted driving and DUI laws in Tacoma

Alongside families and victims of sometimes fatal collisions due to distracted and impaired drivers, Gov. Jay Inslee signed three bills in Tacoma today, aimed at reducing impaired and distracted driving on Washington’s roads.

Gov. Inslee joined by legislators and family members of victims of distracted driving during the signing of SB 5289 in Tacoma, Wash. (Official Governor’s Office Photo)

The bills signed today will make any use of a mobile phone while driving a primary offense, make an individual’s fourth DUI a felony, and implement recommendations from a task-force on impaired driving.

“We’re suffering a scourge of death of our loved ones on our roadways, due to two problems: distracted driving and impaired driving,” Inslee said. “Today I’m signing three bills to confront these scourges head-on.”

Gov. Inslee with Lavera Wade during remarks at the distracted driving bill signing in Tacoma, Wash., May 16, 2017 (Official Governor’s Office Photo)

In his remarks, Inslee discussed the thousands of victims whose lives were cut short by distracted driving. One of those victims was Sam Thompson, a junior at Lewis and Clark College who was killed a week before his 21st birthday when he crashed while sending a text. Inslee was joined at the bill signing by Lavera Wade, Sam’s grandmother, who worked with other victims’ families in passing the legislation.

Inslee’s bill action puts the distracted driving law into effect in July.