Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Cell Phone Enforcement in Washington State

Last week, the Washington State Patrol announced that it will not offer a grace period when texting while driving and failure to use a hands-free device become primary traffic offenses on June 10.

Making the change....

It is common for the state patrol to offer educational grace periods when a new law requires a change to a long-standing behavior. However, it has been determined that drivers have already had nearly two years to adjust their driving habits, and taking that into account, the Washington State Patrol will be fully enforcing this law from day one.

Laws that prohibit texting and requiring hands-free devices took effect in 2008, but have been considered secondary violations, meaning that officers had to witness some other infraction in order to make a traffic stop. The new designation as primary law means police officers can stop drivers for a texting or cell phone violation alone.

The benefits:

Texting and cell phone requirements are intended to save lives and reduce injuries by eliminating two major sources of driver distraction. The number of collisions caused by inappropriate use of mobile devices is greatly under-reported.

The numbers:

Since the laws went into effect in 2008, the Washington State Patrol has written approximately 3,000 tickets and given 5,900 warnings.

The fine for a violation is $124 - hands free devices can be purchased for approximately $50.

Like always, make sure you and your truck are well equipped before heading out on the road!!

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