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man driving with cell phone

Keep your eyes on the road, or your wallet could take a hit!

Beginning July 23rd, Washington State Troopers will be on the lookout for anyone driving distracted. That means no texting or holding your cellphone at your ear. It also forbids composing or reading any kind of message, picture or data.

The biggest update? Drivers cannot use handheld devices at a stop sign or red-light signal.

The Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUIE) Act was originally supposed to go in to effect in January 2019, but Governor Jay Inslee took a firm stand against distracted driving last month, when he vetoed the postponement, and instead accelerated the new crackdown.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The law takes effect July 23rd.
  • Drivers can still use a phone mounted on the dashboard to use for navigation. The new law permits “minimal use of a finger” to use the device.
  • Built-in, hands-free systems, like Bluetooth and maps are still legal to use.
  • Calls to 911 or emergency services are legal.
  • Handheld devices may be used is the driver has pulled off the roadway or traffic lanes, and the vehicle is stationary.
  • A DUIE is a primary offense, meaning an officer can pull you over just for using your phone.
  • A ticket will run you $136 for a first-time offense and nearly double to $235 for a second citation.

Nearly one out of ten drivers in our state drives distracted, with 71% of those distracted by their phones.

Be smart when you’re behind the wheel and keep your phone out of sight. It’s not worth the ticket or the accident risk. 

Posted 1:08 PM

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