Thursday, February 25, 2010

Legislative Alert

Contributed by Tom Odegaard, President/Executive Director, Evergreen Safety Council

Yesterday (February 24), Washington’s House Transportation Committee passed SSB 6345 out of committee during executive session. The vote, pretty much along party lines was good news to those of us who support this effort to have a positive impact on distracted driving issues.

A brief summary of SSB 6345: Prohibits the holder of either an intermediate driver's license or an instruction permit from operating a motor vehicle while using a wireless communication device except in the case of an emergency, and allows the laws relating to the use of a cell phone or other wireless communication device while operating a moving motor vehicle to be enforced as a primary infraction for all drivers. ( for the complete text of bill see below.)

However, much work remains in order for this bill to become law. This bill must be considered by the House of Representatives by 5:00 PM on March 5. We are requesting that you read the bill and if you agree with this effort, contact your representative and encourage them to vote yes on SSB 6345.

Some of you may ask the question if ESC should take a position on “political issues”. ESC is a non-profit (501 c-3) organization. As such we are also non-partisan. However, our mission statement is pretty clear: To prevent accidental deaths and injuries by being a resource for safety training, consulting and information for businesses and citizens of Washington State and the Greater Northwest. To support related programs and legislative action that would improve safety in the workplace, on the highway, at home, and at play."

ESC views SSB 6345 as a much needed change to Washington’s traffic laws that will help reduce distracted driving collisions, injuries and fatalities on our roads.

I have included links to both a summary of the bill as well as a complete copy of it for your review. In addition, I have also added a link to the WA legislature’s website in order to assist you in contacting your representatives regarding this bill.

Please read this information and contact your representatives encouraging them to vote for this bill.

Thank you.

Tom Odegaard
President/Executive Director
Evergreen Safety Council


  1. Thanks for notifying me of this bill. I took the time to voice my opinion against this bill. As safety professionals you should understand that this bill will do nothing to prevent deaths, injuries, or distracted driving. This bill does not address the distraction of dialing the phone. Nor does it address the distraction of having a conversation with a Bluetooth device.

    It also doesn’t cover the radio, ipod, gps, dvd player, kids, fast food, makeup, reading the paper, and the other many issues that distract drivers.

    Believe me, as a cyclist commuter, no one wants to address distracted drivers more than I. However, this law will do little to address the real issue of distraction. I do think this law will do a lot for generating revenue for the police departments and cities they work for.

    Evergreen does great work. I’d encourage you to re-think your support for this bill, and get behind some legislation that makes sense and address the real issues of distracted driving.

    Jason Blaschka
    Cascade Designs Inc.

  2. Thank you for your comment. While we disagree on this issue, we respect your opinion.

    Evergreen Safety Council has conducted has doneour homework and continues to encourage support of this bill.

  3. via email
    I completely disagree with this legislation. You cannot single out a particular group. If cell phone use is not safe while driving, say so. Stop punishing your children for mistakes they have not yet made. If a teenager cannot talk and drive no one can. Not me, not you, not cops. not anybody, period.
    Mike Moore
    Peninsula Driving Academy

  4. Mike, thank you for your response. While we disagree, ESC respects your opinion.

    ESC maintains our support for this bill.


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