New distracted driving law will have police all up in your business | Letter

Don’t eat while driving. Don’t put makeup on while driving. Don’t text while driving. Don’t watch a video while driving. Don’t read while driving. Not even if stopped at a light or stop sign. (It’s legal if you pull over to do any of these things.)

It’s not a crime, but a civil infraction, like a speeding ticket. Now, you’ll get a DUI-E: “driving under the influence of electronics” ticket. The fine is $136.

It’s already been the law that holding a phone and talking on it (except for 911 calls), and hugging or embracing a passenger while driving are unlawful. But this law goes farther than any other in the nation as Big Brother is now in your passenger seat!

Eating or shaving while driving are secondary offenses with only a $30 fine. A secondary offense is one that an officer can’t pull you over for, if that’s all you’re doing wrong. There has to also be a primary (more serious) offense committed, then they can tack this secondary one on. Here, secondary offenses are all the non-electronic things one can do behind the wheel.

This new law expands the opportunity for police officers to make pretextual stops. What’s a pretextual stop? It’s a false reason for stopping a driver. It’s where an officer pulls you over for an alleged minor infraction, but is really trying to bag you for DUI, drugs or something else.

I understand the safety concern about texting while driving, but we already have negligent and reckless driving laws. These new actions that have been made civil infractions, are already against the law because they are already subsumed under our general negligence and reckless driving laws. And reckless driving carries a one-year penalty. So there’s already lots of deterrence for driving while distracted.

It shouldn’t really matter the reason one is driving dangerously, whether because one is smoking, hugging, tired, gacked up on coffee or texting, the danger is still there and our general negligent and reckless driving laws already cover it.

Hey, traffic officer, quit looking at my head, shoulders and hands, and just watch my car for unsafe driving. Please just look at my wheels, speed and blinkers, not my face, shoulders and hands.

If I’m driving unsafely, it shouldn’t really matter why. Let’s repeal this law, which treats drivers like children and invades privacy. Or at least let’s delete the all-encompassing “other distractions” section.

Jeff E. Jared,

Criminal defense attorney in Kirkland

More in Letters to the Editor

Use your voice | Letter

Excellent reporting on the Margins program from Mercer Island High School (Reporter,… Continue reading

Safe teen drivers | Letter

As school gets out for the summer, I’d like to stress the… Continue reading

Alternative to Sammamish River Trail | Letter

The proposed King County improvements to the Sammamish River Trail should be… Continue reading

In the hands of voters | Letter

Every voter in the state of Washington should be furious with the… Continue reading

A humanitarian crisis | Letter

Hundreds killed or injured. Many raped. Bodies found in the Nile. Sudan… Continue reading

Redirecting funds | Letter

There has been a recent influx of publicity about mental health treatment… Continue reading

Making a difference | Letter

Willie Dickerson makes an excellent point regarding homelessness (Reporter, May 24). Those… Continue reading

Take action against climate change | Letter

The human impact of climate change anxiety was discussed by University of… Continue reading

Thank you Hiruko | Letter

Ashley Hiruko’s detailed story (“Susan’s quest for justice and the civil legal… Continue reading

An eye opener | Letter

I was quite taken by the article “Susan’s quest for justice, the… Continue reading

An idea worth encouraging | Letter

Hopeful news that numbers of homelessness people finally seems to decreasing (“Homelessness… Continue reading

A letter to Bothell Police Chief Cummings | Letter

Car accidents happen. I get that. What I don’t get is the… Continue reading