Washington's new DUIE Law (SSB 5289) prohibits drivers from even holding their phones while behind the wheel. The new law 'prohibits driving while holding a personal electronic device in either or both hands and using a hand or finger for texting.'
The only exception to this is '...the minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the device.'
'A person who uses a personal electronic device while driving a motor vehicle on a public highway is guilty of a traffic infraction and must pay a fine as provided in RCW 46.63.110(3).'
The new law goes into effect on July 23, 2017 and provides for stiff penalties for Driving Under the Influence of Electronic Devices (DUIE), such as texting or reading email while behind the wheel.
This includes more than just cell phones, it covers virtually ANY electronic device; tablet computers, laptop computers, gaming devices and other handheld gadgets.
This does NOT include two-way radio, citizens band radio, or amateur radio equipment.
Spokane Valley resident Sam Thompson died in 2014 while texting on Highway 195 near Colfax. This law is aimed at reducing highway deaths due to distracted driving.
The standard traffic fine of $136 would almost double to $235 on the second distracted-driving citation. Under the new law, this would become a primary offense, meaning you can be pulled over for using your electronic device, with no other infractions.
The only exemption is for people using their phone to call emergency services, commercial drivers using the device in the scope of their work, or someone who is operating an emergency vehicle.
The new law also makes a fourth DUI a felony.
If you have been charged with DUIE, or distracted driving, we can help you reduce or dismiss your charges. Contact us today to get a free case evaluation, and we'll help get your charges dismissed or reduced.