Senator caught Zooming while driving

Washington sate Senators were talking about a proposed new $18 billion transportation package.

Their morning hearing was broadcasted on TVW to the public.

“I do think that’s been a very collaborative process, I appreciate it,” said state Sen. Rebecca Saldana.

But it became clear pretty quickly that the Seattle Democrat was talking about driving, while she herself was driving.

“It’s a cost, it’s a burden. I’m driving my old vehicle right now…”

There are laws against distracted driving, including a law focused on using electronics while driving.

We asked the State Patrol if Sen. Saldana’s earbuds could be an issue.

“You’ve got to be able to hear the things around, you got to be able to hear sirens ... coming up behind you for emergency vehicles,” said Sgt. Darren Wright

Sgt. Wright says the law is clear that you can’t watch TV or movies while driving — but that was before the age of Zoom calls.

Asked if you can take Zoom calls while driving, Wright responded, “It’s not a safe idea ... we want people to concentrate on the driving.”

In a statement to KIRO-7, Sen. Saldana said in part,

“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 have supported legislation about penalties for distracted driving... Accordingly, if I receive a citation for this driving infraction, I will pay the fine.”

But the State Patrol says it can’t issue a citation to her or anyone else under the same set of circumstances.

“Traffic infractions, for an officer to cite somebody has to actually physically see the violation occur. They have to be there, otherwise we can’t prove where it occurred or how it occurred,” Sgt. Wright said.

We requested an interview with Sen. Saldana, but because the Senate was in session this afternoon, her staff said she could not break away.