Governor Gregoire Toughens Law on Cell Phone Use while Driving

Governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill into law Friday that will mark this summer as the beginning of new laws on cell phone use while driving.

This new law will make holding a cell phone to your ear or using text messaging while driving a primary offense in Washington State.

Previously this was only a secondary offense which meant drivers had to be pulled over for another offense in order to be fined for using a cell phone.

June 10, 2010 is the first day police can pull someone over for texting or talking on a cell phone without a headset on. The fine if caught will be a $124 ticket.

Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said the state is working to educate drivers in the next few months about the new law and warnings will probably be given in the early stages of this law going into effect.

If you receive a ticket for cell phone use, it won't go on your record and there are a few exemptions. Those exemptions consist of emergency vehicle drivers, transit and those using their phones to report illegal activity or ask for emergency aid. People using a hearing aid and driving a tow truck are also exemptions to the new law.

This law also will forbid anyone under 18 to use a cell phone while driving, even with a headset.

Other states that have labeled the use of cell phones while driving as a primary offense include California, New Jersey and Oregon. More than a dozen states have laws of some form in place regulating the use of a cell phone while driving.

Cell phone use while driving can be just as dangerous as driving drunk and can cause serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident where a driver on their phone was at fault, it would be to your benefit to consult with an experienced Washington Personal Injury Lawyer who can look at the facts of your case and help you act on filing a claim.

Source: Northwest Cable News

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