Proposed bill targets your smartphone, aims to keep roads safe

SEATTLE -- If a proposed bill becomes law, doing anything on your phone while you are driving except hands-free talking will be illegal.

"I would just like to see the law come in line with the technology that's there now,” said Shelly Baldwin with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission who along with the Washington State Patrol is pushing for a change in the texting law.

Washington was the first state in the country to outlaw texting and driving in 2007, but people still used flip-phones back then.

"As our phones have become amazing, they've also become more complicated. Combining that with driving just makes it that much worse,” she said.

Last year, troopers made roughly 3,700 traffic stops for people who were texting on their phone. They gave out about 1,800 tickets and the rest got warnings.

Trooper Paul Joyce says he can often tell whether a warning will be enough to change a driver’s behavior. He usually reminds people, "Is it so important that they're willing to risk their life because of that behavior?”

The bill, SB 5656, is scheduled for a public hearing Monday afternoon in the Senate Committee on Transportation at 3:30 p.m.