Governor Inslee recently signed a new, tougher cell phone law – and put it into effect a couple of years earlier than planned. Time to put that phone down Snoqualmie Valley drivers.
Starting July 23rd, 2017 it will be against the law for drivers in Washington state to use hand-held phones while driving – including all electronic devices, even tablets, laptops and video games.
This means no checking your phone, sending a text, checking social media while at a red light. If a police officer sees you doing this, they can pull you over. It’s as simple as that. The new law changes the current law, which only prohibited texting or holding the phone to the ear while driving.
If you get caught using hand-held electronics behind the wheel you will be issued an electronics DUI ticket (E-DUI) and it will go on your record and be reported to your insurance company. The cost for an E-DUI goes up with each infraction. The first ticket will cost you $136. Get a second one within five years and the cost increases to $234.
You can use your cell phone if it is hand-free capable (bluetooth) and can start it by a single touch/swipe without holding the phone. It’s also ok if you’re parked or out of traffic flow; starting your GPS or music before driving; or contacting emergency services.
The Washington State Patrol has been actively pushing out public information about the new law in an effort to warn drivers about these new tougher regulations.
The Snoqualmie Police Department is also encouraging drivers to keep their focus on the road. In a recent press release, they said in a continued effort to ensure the safety of the community, SPD officers “will be looking for violators of this new law.”
“Our hope is that drivers will pay attention to their driving and not on anything that would distract from keeping themselves and others safe,” said Snoqualmie Police Chief Perry Phipps.
And don’t forget, you can also still get a $99 ticket for other kinds of distracted driving – like combing your hair, smoking, eating or reading – if it causes you to drive unsafely and you’re pulled over for another traffic offense.
You can read more about the new law at www.wadrivetozero.com/distracted-driving