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Do you sneak a few taps on your phone while you’re driving? Plus two other things to know

Do you sneak a few taps on your phone while you’re driving? Consider this: The number of traffic deaths in Washington caused by drivers who were distracted by their phones jumped 32 percent from 2014 to 2015, making up almost a third of all traffic deaths. That sent a pretty clear message to state legislators that our 10-year-old distracted driving laws aren’t working.

So two legislators are drafting a tougher law, reports Mike Lindblom of The Seattle Times. One that won’t just make it illegal to hold a phone to your ear or text while driving, but to do anything on a phone that requires holding it and poking at it. A “swirling vortex of people” want a tougher law like this to pass, Shelly Baldwin of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission told Mike, but legislators are people too. “I know one legislator who streams TV shows on his iPad while driving to Olympia,” said Senator Ann Rivers, who’s co-drafting the bill.

Seattle’s getting more new apartments this year than ever before. The 10,000 new apartments coming to the city in 2017 are almost double the number of new apartments we’ve seen in any year in Seattle’s history, reports Mike Rosenberg of The Seattle Times. They won’t exactly be spread out across the city, though. To see how many new apartments are coming to your neighborhood, check out the handy interactive map halfway down the story.

It’s going to be a bad year for rats. Seattle isn’t only seeing a rapid increase in humans. We spot rats here at a rate that’s double the national average, thanks in part to all the new people, and a brand new building code that requires developers get rid of the furry squatters before they demolish old buildings, reports Ann Dornfeld at KUOW. Why is Seattle one of the rattiest cities around? Ashley Ahearn of KUOW explains.

By Mónica Guzmán
Mónica is the cofounder and editor of The Evergrey. She's been a Seattle journalist for a decade and adores this city.