Distracted Driving Law in Full Affect Now
No more warnings for Washington state drivers holding their cellphones while driving. Starting January 1, 2018, the grace period is officially over. The new law went into effect back in July 2017, with a six-month transition period for the Washington State Patrol to educate drivers about using technology and phones while driving. As of the first day of the new year, the WSP are switching from education mode to citation mode.
The law bans the use of cellphones, tablets, laptops, and video games while driving. If caught, the first offense ticket is $136. A second offense will cost $234 if it occurs within in 5 years of the first.
If a driver is pulled over for using a cellphone, additional behaviors that interfere with driving are also citable, such as grooming, eating, or reading. That could add an additional $99 to the first distracted driving offense.
“If troopers observe distracted driving violations coupled with other dangerous driving behaviors, or if you’ve already received a warning about the new law, you run the risk of getting a ticket,” the State Patrol said in a news release.
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, statistics for fatalities caused by distracted driving have shown a 32% increase in 2014-2015. Which is why this new law is coming down heavy for drivers, to encourage them to pay attention to the road, ultimately, making the roads safer for everyone.
What You Need to Know
Many still have questions as to what exactly is included in the new distracted driving law. Hands-free or voice-activated devices are still fine to use while driving. But it’s a no-go for cellphones when you’re behind the wheel.
No Hand-Held Cell Phone Use While Driving
- Even when stopped in traffic or at a traffic light
- No typing messages or accessing information
- No watching videos or using cameras
Tickets for driving while using hand-held electronics will go your record and be reported to your insurance provider.
Electronics DUI (E-DUI) Ticket Cost
A Driving Under the Influence of Electronics ticket, an E-DUI, is the type of ticket drivers will receive if pulled over for using a hand-held electronic device while driving. The cost for receiving an E-DUI increases with each infraction. All violations will be available to your insurance company.
First E-DUI – $136
Second E-DUI (within 5 years) – $234
You CAN Use Your Device If You Are:
- Hands-free (such as using Bluetooth) and can start use by a single touch or swipe without holding the phone
- Parked or out-of-the-flow of traffic
- Starting your GPS or music before you drive
- Contacting emergency services
Not Included in the Law
- Transit and emergency vehicle drivers are exempt. Drivers of commercial vehicles must follow federal laws.
- Two-way radio, citizens band radio, or amateur radio equipment are not included in the law. http://wadrivetozero.com/distracted-driving/
Our Auto Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers Are Here to Help
If you need ideas on how to avoid distracted driving, check out some great tips here: http://www.fieldinglawgroup.com/accident-tips/10-apps-help-prevent-distracted-driving/
As fast as technology as grown in our society, it’s a rare thing to find anyone without a cellphone in their hands. But when it comes to driving, the only thing in your hand should be the steering wheel. Washington state is one of the forerunners to recognize the significant impact technology plays in distracting drivers. This new law is not only an additional safety measure, but a reminder that behind the wheel is never a good place to use a cellphone or electronic device.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident or by a distracted driver, call Fielding Law Group for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury professional today. We can help you recover and get back on your feet. Remember-Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!