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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Council Roundup: No texting and driving in Bellevue

Also, Bellevue wins award for commute reductions and State Patrol joins drug task force

State laws that make it a "primary" offense to text or chat on a cell phone while driving will take effect in Bellevue on June 10. The City Council Monday approved an ordinance adopting the state infractions.

Laws prohibiting texting and requiring hands-free devices for cell phones were introduced in July 2008, but they were "secondary" violations, and officers had to witness some other traffic infraction to pull a motorist over.

As of June 10, texting or talking on the phone while driving can be a reason for a traffic stop itself. Drivers ticketed for these infractions will face $124 fines.

Bellevue officers have been issuing warnings and educating motorists about the new law. Since July of 2008, approximately 400 citations have been issued in Bellevue.

Feedback: Carla Iafrate, Police Public Information Officer, 425-452-4129 or ciafrate@bellevuewa.gov 

Commute reductions draw state award
Council members were briefed Monday on a recent state award recognizing the city's efforts to reduce drive-alone trips to downtown Bellevue. 

At a ceremony in Olympia, Gov. Gregoire presented the city with the Commute Smart Community Champion award for Bellevue's Connect Downtown trip reduction plan. On hand to accept the honor were Deputy Mayor Conrad Lee, Program Manager Kate Johnson and Senior Transportation Planner Mike Ingram.

Also recognized at the annual event was Corkey Christenson, a transportation coordinator at LUMEDX Corp. in downtown Bellevue. She was one of three individuals recognized statewide for work at their job site to voluntarily develop and implement an effective commute program.

Bellevue partners with King County Metro and the Bellevue Downtown Association's TransManage program to implement Connect Downtown.

For comprehensive information about commute options, visit Choose Your Way Bellevue.

Feedback: Kate Johnson, Associate Planner, 425-452-7896 or kmjohnson@bellevuewa.gov

State Patrol joins Eastside drug task force
The Eastside Narcotics Task Force, a partnership of four cities and the King County Sheriff's Office, now includes the State Patrol as well. The council Monday authorized expanding the interlocal agreement for the task force.

A team that includes members of the Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland and Mercer Island police forces, the ENTF targets drug dealers across city borders. An ENTF detective on loan to Immigration and Customs Enforcement enables the task force to investigate complex cases.

The ENTF's successes include the discovery of major marijuana grow operations on Taylor Mountain last September in which more than 25,000 marijuana plants with a street value of $50 million were seized.

Feedback: Carla Iafrate, Police Public Information Officer, 425-452-4129 or ciafrate@bellevuewa.gov

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