As of June 10, 2010, Washington’s new cell phone law is in effect—with strict police enforcement. If police see you holding a phone to your ear or texting while driving, they can pull you over. Tickets are $124 and could be more if your distracted driving causes a collision.
• No talking on handheld cell phones while driving.
• No texting while driving.
• Teens with intermediate driver licenses or learner permits may not use a wireless device at all while driving, including hands-free devices, unless they’re reporting an emergency.
This law is not meant to encourage the use of hands-free devices. Hands-free devices offer no safety benefit. Parking your phone is the only safe way to drive. Pulling to the shoulder to talk on the phone or text is rarely a safe option and should only be done in an emergency.
• One study shows that cell phone drivers are as impaired as drunk drivers who have a .08% blood-alcohol level.
• Talking on a cell phone—with or without a hands-free device—increases the chance of crashing by four times.
• Texting drivers look down for 5 seconds at a time on average—enough time at highway speeds to cover more than a football field.
The changes that were made to the laws pertaining to cell phone use while driving can be found in Senate Bill 6345 at http://apps.leg.wa.gov. This bill will change the following RCWs: 46.61.667, 46.61.668, 46.20.055, 46.20.075.
“We will fully enforce this law from day one…in hopes of preventing these needless tragedies.”
State Patrol Chief
John R. Batiste
On February 23, 2010, Heather Lerch of Tumwater crashed her car and died. She was texting at the time of the crash. Below is Heather’s car after the crash.
“More than 50% of the visual cues spotted by attentive drivers are missed by cell phone talkers. Not surprisingly, they get in more wrecks than anyone except very drunk drivers.”
– Univ. of Washington
Dr. John Medina