18,000 Washington drivers contacted for distracted driving

"He was my youngest, he was my baby bear," Tina Myer said about her son that was killed by a distracted driver.

It was a distracted driver that killed Tina Myer's son Cody, hitting the 23-year-old as he was working as a flagger at a construction site in December 2015. He suffered severe injuries, and died several months later. Now Myer is joining Governor Inslee, praising a new DUI-E law, that she says will send a message, especially to young drivers.

"First by teaching the new drivers coming onto our roads that this is not acceptable behavior," said Tina Myer.

The DUI-E law, for driving under the influence of electronics, outlaws holding a cell phone at any time while driving, unless you're calling 9-1-1 in an emergency. The law even prohibits picking up the phone at stoplights.

Related: What are distracted driving laws like in Idaho?

The first ticket for an DUI-E will cost you $136.Get a second ticket within five years, and it'll cost $234.  The new law also tickets drivers $99 for grooming, smoking, eating or reading while behind the wheel. Inslee says that in many cases a distracted driver is more dangerous than a drunk driver.

"When you are driving with a cell phone, you are a more dangerous driver than if you're driving drunk with a .08 alcohol level," said Governor Inslee. He continued by saying this is a situation we deal with on a daily basis.

Spokane County Sheriff's deputy Craig Chamberlain says the new law isn't meant to punish people.

"The bottom line with the new changes in this law is that we want folks to be safe on the roadway."

You can use your phone if it's hands free and can start by a single touch or swipe of your finger, If you're safely  parked and out of traffic.

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