New Distracted Driving Law: Recap of Today’s Q&A

If you tuned into our Facebook and Twitter Live session this afternoon, let us first start by saying: There are no free toasters for the most amount of cars stopped. In fact, revenue generated from infractions issued does not come directly back to the Washington State Patrol.

Earlier today, Trooper Will Finn answered some of your most frequently asked questions regarding the new distracted driving law that goes into effect this Sunday.

Here’s a recap of the main points:

  • There will be a six-month grace “period” where Washington State Patrol troopers will focus more on educating drivers about the new law rather than writing tickets. However, this is not a free pass. If troopers observe distracted driving violations coupled with other dangerous driving behaviors, or if you’ve already received a warning about the new law, you run the risk of getting a ticket.
  • Again, troopers do not directly receive any revenue from this new law. Since cellphone technology has advanced since the current distracted driving laws were enacted in 2007, state lawmakers created these new, robust rules to keep the motoring public safe during the most recent legislative session.
  • GPS and music. A good rule to follow, start both of these things before anything else. Drivers are allowed one touch/swipe as long as your device is connected to Bluetooth.
  • You are allowed to call 911 in an emergency situation.
  • Food, drinks, grooming, and smoking. All of these things are secondary violations/observations. It is pretty common to eat, drink, smoke, or do any other number of activities while driving. These activities are allowed as long as they do not interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle. If the driver does commit another traffic offense and is dangerously distracted, than they are subject to another $99 fine.
  • A primary offense is whenever a trooper observes drivers making contact with their phone other than the one touch/swipe. This is what troopers will be mainly focused on.

Here are some answers to some of your big questions that we didn’t have time to answer during the live session:

  • When it comes to Uber, Lyft, and other ride share services, they are not covered under this law. Meaning, they are not exempt from the one touch/swipe rule.
  • Primary offenses will now be reported to your insurance companies.
  • Authorized emergency personnel, including troopers, are exempt from this law.
  • Fines for the first primary offense will cost $136, the second within five years is $234, and the dangerously distracted (or secondary offense) will run $99

You can watch Trooper Finn’s video here.

We will be sharing more info about the new law in the coming months. Be sure to follow our main social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. You can also give Trooper Finn a follow on Twitter at @wspd5pio.

Please visit https://wadrivetozero.com/distracted-driving/ for more information on this new law.

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