Seattle senator appears to break multiple laws during live committee hearing

Apr 6, 2021, 11:08 AM | Updated: 3:52 pm

A Washington state senator was caught on TVW driving while distracted, before later apologizing publicly and admitting she “made the wrong choice.”

Seattle Democrat, Rebecca Saldana, who represents the 37th Legislative District, is the vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. Saldana appeared to violate several traffic laws while participating in a live, online committee hearing.

Senator Saldana was clearly driving her car while answering a question from a fellow senator during Tuesday morning’s hearing on the Forward Washington package, an $18 billion, 16-year transportation plan. She even admitted to driving while answering the question, which was about a “just transition” to green energy.

“As we are moving into clean fuels, alternative fuels … it’s a cost,” Saldana said. “It’s a burden — I’m driving my old vehicle right now.”

SDOT racing to finish Fairview Avenue Bridge

Seen on camera on the live video call, which violates the state’s distracted driving law. She also appeared to have both headphones in, which is a violation of another state law.

Senator Saldana released the following statement in response:

As a working mom, I face the same struggles many parents in Washington are facing, including trying to make my work schedule fit with my duties as a parent. Unfortunately I made a choice today that was not in compliance with the law and for that I apologize.

I agree we all need to become better drivers, and that includes myself. Placed in a difficult position today, I made the wrong choice in not disabling the automatic video function on my phone while driving and complying with my duties as vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. I sincerely regret having made this choice, and I do not condone distracted driving or the violation of our state’s traffic laws for any reason.

I have supported legislation about penalties for distracted driving, and like all drivers in Washington state, I must be subject and accountable to that law and all traffic laws.  Accordingly, if I receive a citation for this driving infraction, I will pay the fine.

Check out more from Chris’ Chokepoints. Follow him on Twitter!


Image: Members of the community hold oversized scissors as part of a ceremony to mark the completio...

Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: Oversized scissors, shovels used to celebrate I-405 project progress

The Washington State Department of Transportation used big scissors and more to celebrate the Interstate 405 project north of Bellevue.

2 days ago

Photo: Alaska Airlines planes at Sea-Tac Airport....

Julia Dallas

Why was Sea-Tac Airport so busy Sunday? Will it get worse?

Warmer weather means a busy summer travel season is ahead. Visitors may find longer than usual lines at Sea-Tac Airport and delays.

3 days ago

Image: Interstate 5 north in Everett was shut down and blocked on Thursday, May 16, 2024. The closu...

Steve Coogan

I-5 north in Everett reopens after officer-involved shooting left suspect dead

Interstate 5 north in Everett at US 2 reopened late Thursday after an officer-involved shooting left one suspect dead.

6 days ago

traffic circles roundabouts...

Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: Seattle’s traffic circles are not roundabouts

Traffic circles are not roundabouts. The words are not interchangeable, and the rules for navigating them are different.

7 days ago

Photo: SR 520 between Seattle and Bellevue....

Julia Dallas

SR 520 toll rates will increase this summer, here’s how much:

SR 520 tolls will be going up to pay for construction. Toll rates for new sections of SR 167 and SR 509 are also being discussed.

8 days ago

I-405 truck fire...

Frank Sumrall

Truck fire shuts down I-405, 2 lanes now open

All lanes of I-405 heading north at Sunset Boulevard in Renton were blocked due to a major truck fire. The HOV lane is now open.

9 days ago

Seattle senator appears to break multiple laws during live committee hearing