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Rantz: I won’t follow the distracted driving law

(File, AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

I’m not going to follow the distracted driving laws recently signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee who, I must assume, has never actually used a cellphone and instead relies on his staff to dial and text on his behalf. Only someone with a severe misunderstanding of how cellphones work while you’re stuck at a bridge can sign into law such a patently ridiculous bill that treats us all like children.

I will continue to send text messages friends, telling them I’m stuck in traffic and will be late. Perhaps I did this last night on the way to The Paramount Theatre to see the absolutely brilliant “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” while stuck in standstill traffic around Mercer Ave.

Why won’t I change my behavior? Because I won’t buy into this absurd position that sending a quick text while stopped at a light or at a bridge is equivalent to live tweeting your commute while driving 60 mph on I-5.

You see, like you, I’m not an idiot. I don’t need an over-protective, money-grabbing government treating me like a child who can’t use basic common sense to figure out what’s safe or not.

Under the new law, simply holding the phone in your hand while stopped at a light gives law enforcement officers the ability to ticket you, yet if I’m driving on a freeway scarfing down a gluten-free breakfast burrito, I can only be ticketed if the burrito eating is causing me to violate some other traffic law.

Per State Senator Joe Fain:

If a police officer determines that you blew the stop sign because you were distracted by some extraneous behavior (dog in lap, eating, drinking, etc.) then she could cite you an additional fine for being distracted. If downing that big gulp didn’t contribute to your speeding, swerving, running a stop sign, etc., then you won’t be cited for the additional “dangerously distracted” citation. You’ll just get a ticket for the primary offense.

Why isn’t the same standard being applied to cellphone use? If I use a cellphone while driving safely, what harm is there? No one is answering this question outside of some out-of-touch politician crying “Put your phones down, kids!”

This is overreach at its worst and it’s based on a lie that conflates dangerous behavior with clearly safe behavior. I’m not changing my behavior and you can ticket me for it (to be fair, I don’t drive all that often. When I do, I’ll text when it’s safe to do so).

In a state where government officials advocate for safe-injection sites and jaywalking, I’ll do my part and contribute to some good ol’ fashion civil disobedience because the law, here, is wrong and I’ll deal with the consequences.

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