Washington New Cell Phone Law
Our new cell phone law went into effect Thursday, June 10, prohibiting holding a wireless device to your ear while operating a moving motor vehicle.
I've heard people talk about ways to get around the new law: "It's okay to talk on the speaker" or "It's okay to text if you're at a stop light".
First, I wonder why people feel the need to get around the law. Isn't it easy enough to pull over or put on a blue tooth or headphones and just obey the law?
And secondly, I thought, I better find out exactly what is legal and illegal. I use headphones in my car, but what are the rules about answering the phone or dialing?
Here is what I learned:
- If you are calling 911, the law does not apply.
- Touching the phone to dial or answer IS allowed.
- Texting is banned; even at a stop light. You are still operating the vehicle.
- Holding your phone to your ear is illegal.
- Using the speaker phone may be illegal depending on the city. Each city interprets the law differently, so be careful in Redmond! The Washington State patrol says it's okay though.
- Fines are $124
Law Enforcement agencies look for tell tale signs similar to DUI drivers: weaving in their lane, crossing the center line or the fog line, driving over the speed limit or more likely, under the speed limit.
In 2007 a law was passed creating cell phone usage while driving a secondary offense, meaning you had to be pulled over for something else in order to get a ticket for cell phone use too. Now, you can get pulled over only using your cell phone while driving.
I think it's a good law. If you are texting or holding a phone it's harder to react to situations that can come up while driving. I think the law seems pretty liberal giving us the ability to answer and dial.