Texting Laws and Distracted Driving Laws in Washington State

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Mobile phones and smartphones have made our lives better in many ways: we are more connected than ever before, we have so much information at our fingertips, and we are in many ways safer. However, as the popularity of these devices has grown, the number of distracted driving accidents caused by phone use while driving has grown right along side it.

In an effort to curb these distracted driving accidents and injuries, many states, including Washington State, have signed distracted driving and texting rules into law. Let’s take a closer look at the texting and driving laws in Washington.

Washington State Texting and Driving Laws

Washington was the very first state in the nation to pen a texting and driving law, back in 2008. Since then, though, the laws have changed again–legislation passed in 2017 made the rules even stricter in an effort to further reduce distracted driving injuries and deaths.

  • It is illegal to use or even hold a mobile device, such as a cell phone, while driving. Mobile devices also include tablets, laptop computers, and gaming devices.
  • It is also illegal to hold a mobile device even when stopped at an intersection or while stopped in traffic.
  • Not only is texting illegal, but holding the phone to your ear and holding it in your hand are also against the law. Reading on your phone, messaging, browsing, and taking pictures are also not allowed.
  • It is also illegal to engage in other forms of distracted driving, such as eating or applying makeup.
  • Drivers may use a cellphone on a dashboard cradle for navigational purposes, such as a GPS map. Drivers may use their fingers minimally to tap the phone while in its cradle.
  • Hands-free calling is legal.
  • Calling 911 or the police in an emergency is legal.
  • Amateur radio equipment and citizens-band radio are still legal.

This set of laws, called the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUIE) Act, are primary offenses–that means that you can be pulled over simply for violating these distracted driving laws. First-time violators will be fined $136, while second-time offenders will have to cough up $235. In addition to the fine, violations will likely raise insurance rates.

These laws were put into place after a Washington State study found that one in ten drivers were holding a device in their hand at any given time while traveling, and that just over 70 percent of distracted drivers were engaged with their phones. Drivers were distracted in crashes that killed 3,179 people in 2014, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Were You Injured By A Distracted Driver? Call Us Today.

When you are struck by a distracted driver, the accident and your injuries are not your fault. Make sure that you get the compensation you need after a distracted driving crash by speaking with an experienced, knowledgeable Federal Way car accident attorney today. At The Ye Law Firm, we are committed to helping our clients recover the money they deserve after a wreck, so that they can move on from their accident as quickly as possible.

To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.

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Chong Ye