Inattentive driving law passes Enumclaw City Council

Without debate, members of the Enumclaw City Council gave police the authority to ticket motorists deemed guilty of “inattentive driving.”

Chief Jim Zoll had gone before the council May 28, asking for the addition to the city books. Such a move, he said, is increasingly common throughout the region.

While state law already allows police to crack down on those texting or talking on cell phones while operating a motor vehicle, the new ordinance is nowhere near so specific – it is intentionally vague, giving officers the discretion to issue citations for anything that, in their view, distracts a driver. A driver could be stopped and ticketed for anything from eating a burger to dealing with unruly children, from applying makeup to shaving.

A report given by Zoll to the council noted that 758 of the state’s traffic fatalities between 2004 and 2008 were attributed to distracted driving.

The item sailed through council June 10 without formal comment, but Councilman Glen Jensen said he had joked to Zoll that “it’s sad that we have to remind people to have common sense.”

The new law takes effect Monday.

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