Can You Pull Into the Shoulder Lane of Freeway to Make a Call?



With the new hands-free law in Washington, regarding cell phone use while driving, there is a frequently asked question regarding pulling over on the freeway to make a call. Can you pull off into the shoulder lane to use your electronic device?

The answer is, no. The shoulder lanes are intended for emergencies. Calling someone, using your GPS, or sending a text, are not emergency circumstances. By sitting on the side of a freeway you are actually more of a hazard to yourself and other drivers.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary says that if you need to make a call you should take the next freeway exit, pull into a parking lot, and then return to the freeway when you are done. Leary explains that there have been several times when paramedics and officers are rushing to the scene of a car accident and there are vehicles pulled over to the shoulder and they cannot get by. Most of the time, it is a driver who is talking on their cell phone. The car accident ahead could be a life or death situation and they are preventing them from getting to the scene, he says.

This has become a common trend lately, Leary says.

If you are on the freeway and need to talk on your cell phone, DO NOT PULL OFF INTO THE SHOULDER. You are causing more harm than you may think.

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