Law targets cell phone use while driving

Posted 7/18/17

Beginning July 23, a new distracted-driving law in Washington bans the use of personal electronic devices while driving, even when stopped at a stoplight or stuck in traffic.

Offenders can be …

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Law targets cell phone use while driving

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Beginning July 23, a new distracted-driving law in Washington bans the use of personal electronic devices while driving, even when stopped at a stoplight or stuck in traffic.

Offenders can be fined $136 for a first offense of holding a phone while driving in the state of Washington, according to a press release. The fine increases to $234 for a second offense within five years.

Senate Bill 5289, also called the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act or E-DUI, was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee on May 16.

The law bans the use of all electronic devices, including tablets, laptops and video games. Citations for driving while using hand-held electronics are to be reported to the driver’s insurance provider.

Drivers can use devices connected to Bluetooth, that is, activated by a single touch, or are contacting emergency services. Drivers should start GPS or music before the vehicle is moving. Devices can also be used if the vehicle is parked and out of the flow of traffic.

Transit and emergency vehicle drivers are exempt from the law. Two-way radio, CB radio and amateur radio equipment are not included in the law. Drivers of commercial vehicles must follow federal laws.

According to the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission’s Target Zero campaign webpage (wadeca.org/community-service), fatalities resulting from distracted driving have increased 32 percent from 2014 to 2015 in Washington.

One out of four crashes involves cell phone use just prior to the crash.

“Port Townsend Police and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office urge drivers to put their phones away while driving,” the release states.

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