New Law in Washington State Penalizes Driving Under the Influence of Electronic Devices

By Jesse Sokolow on 24 July 2017
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aA new distracted-driving law went into effect in Washington State on Sunday that goes well beyond what the state’s current law covers.

In addition to making it illegal to hold a mobile phone to one’s ear while driving or to send text messages by typing them on the device, the new law forbids any handheld use of an electronic device including composing any sort of message or entering any data. Even taking a photograph when driving is now illegal as is using a smartphone while stopped at a red light or stop sign.

Governor Jay Inslee accelerated the start of the law, which was originally to go into effect in 2019.

Under the new law, the use of a phone while mounted on the dashboard is still allowed, provided it is used solely for navigation purposes and not for watching videos. The use of a vehicle’s infotainment system is also legal. Drivers can, however, use their handheld devices if they pull off to the side of the road in a safe manner.

A DUIE, or driving under the influence of electronics, will cost drivers $136 for the first offense, and $235 for the second. Offenses will show up on a driver’s record, most likely raising their insurance rates.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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