Cellphone use is a dangerous distraction for a driver. Learn more about distracted driving and the Washington law designed to stop it.

Washington’s Ban on Handheld Devices Behind the Wheel Is for Our Own Good

The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. The epidemic of distracted driving has pushed the U.S. Department of Transportation to maintain a website dedicated to distracted driving research and education: distraction.gov.

There are many activities that distract us behind the wheel, including eating and drinking, grooming, adjusting music or climate, and setting a navigation system. However, texting and cell phone use are the most common and the most dangerous of all driving distractions. The percentage of drivers who send texts or use handheld devices instead of paying attention to the road increases every year, despite campaigns and laws encouraging drivers to put their phones away. In fact, at any given moment across America, 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That means that over half a million drivers are putting themselves and others at risk for a serious car accident.

To try to combat the dangers of texting and driving, many states have enacted legislation to ban or limit the use of cellphones behind the wheel.

Use of Technology Laws in Washington

The Washington traffic law regarding cell phone use is pretty simple: All Washington drivers (including bus drivers, taxi drivers, and subway operators) are prohibited from using handheld devices while driving.

The only exceptions to this rule include emergency situations where:

  • A driver needs to call in an accident, crime, or violation
  • Emergency personnel are responding to an incident
  • Drivers need to use a handheld device as part of a hearing aid

If a driver doesn’t qualify for one of these three exceptions, he must:

  • Refrain from using his cell phone while the vehicle is in motion
  • Use a speakerphone, a Bluetooth wireless device, a wired headset, or a hands-free device
  • Install a car kit that allows him to talk or text without removing his hands from the wheel or his eyes from the road

Enforcement of Washington’s Texting Law

Washington’s handheld device law is considered a “primary” law which allows police officers to pull offenders over without the need of a secondary traffic violation. Drivers who are caught will be fined $124 for the first offense. Further violations can result in heavier fines, citations, and license revocation.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as a result of a driver violating Washington’s cell phone law, you may be eligible for damages. Call our Bellevue office or visit us today to speak with an experienced car accident attorney about your claim. Don’t allow a negligent driver to get away with causing you and your family harm. You deserve better, and we are committed to making sure you get what you deserve.