Our Northwest Economy
1:38 pm
Fri March 26, 2010

Washington: New Cell Phone Ban Takes Effect June 10th

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Starting June 10th, police officers in Washington will be able to pull over drivers who've got a cell phone pressed to their ear. Same goes for people who text while behind the wheel. Governor Chris Gregoire [today] Friday signed legislation making it a primary offense.

Currently, police officers in Washington can't stop a driver just for yakking on the phone or texting. It's a secondary offense. But soon that will change. This June, Washington will join Oregon and several other states where talking or texting is reason enough to get pulled over. Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste says his troopers plan to ease people into the new law.

John Batiste: “We'll start out with education and then we'll follow that with warnings and we'll get into strict enforcement in order to make it an effective law.”

The ticket for breaking the hand-held cell phone or texting ban is $124. Under the law, teen drivers with a learner's permit or intermediate license may not use a cell phone at all. Meanwhile the Idaho legislature is currently considering its own texting while driving ban.

On the web:
http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html
http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6345