Learn about Washington State cell phone and texting laws from a Washington Car Accident Attorney
After several studies revealed the significant dangers of driving while texting and driving while using a mobile device, a number of states have passed laws restricting cell phone use, banning cell phone use for novice drivers, or banning cell phone use for commercial drivers or school bus drivers. Washington State has led the country with some of the most sweeping cell phone laws of all. Washington State is one of only six states to ban all cell phone use for all drivers. While a large minority of states ban texting and handheld cell phone use for novice and teen drivers, Washington only allows drivers to talk on headsets while behind the wheel. As part of this sweeping ban, all bus drivers, commercial truck drivers, and other government drivers are also disallowed from using mobile devices while talking. In fact, a recent federal law has banned texting for commercial truck drivers across the nation.
A driver may use a mobile device while driving if he or she is in an emergency situation or if he or she is reporting a crime or car accident.
Unlike in all other states with mobile phone laws, talking on a handheld cell phone or texting while driving is a secondary offense in Washington State. This means that drivers caught talking or texting behind the wheel can only be ticketed if they have been pulled over by police for another offense such as speeding, running a red light, causing a car accident, or making an illegal turn. In all other states, cell phone driving laws are primary offenses and drivers can be ticketed simply for using a handheld device or text messaging while driving.
Currently, there is a bill in the Washington Senate that would make the existing cell phone and texting driving laws primary offenses.