Distracted driving is a major concern across the country, including Washington. The state is now enforcing a new distracted driving law that will ban the use of cellphones and other electronic devices while driving. The law hopes to curb negligent driving, which can lead to accidents, injuries and even death.

The law originally was supposed to take effect in 2019. However, the governor of Washington pushed for a July 2017 effective date, along with a six-month grace period in which police officers would warn offenders of the new law. During the grace period, Washington State Patrol issued close to 7,000 warnings to drivers.

That grace period ended on January 1. Now, drivers in Washington are banned from using cell phones, laptops, tablets and other electronic devices while driving—even when stopped at a stoplight or in traffic. In addition, drivers are not allowed to watch movies while driving. Hands-free use cannot involve more than one touch or swipe.

A first offense will result in a $136 ticket. A second offense will raise the fine to $234. Auto insurance companies will be made aware of the violations.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a deadly problem across the country. In fact, many believe distracted driving is even more dangerous than drunk driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving kills nine people and injures more than 1,000 others every day.

Distracted driving refers to anything that takes your eyes off the road. This includes cell phone use, eating, changing the radio station, talking to passengers, reading and applying makeup. Texting is especially dangerous because the average text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds—enough to cover a football field when traveling at 55 mph.

Teens and young adults are most likely to engage in dangerous driving behavior, including distracted driving. Many states such as Washington are enacting laws to curb cell phone use, which often leads to distracted driving.

Get Help for Your Criminal Case

Distracted driving is a serious problem that can cause you to be accused of negligent driving and other misdemeanor charges. Even a misdemeanor can affect your criminal record for many years, so take the appropriate steps to clear your name.

The criminal defense lawyers at the Nahajski Firm can defend you against misdemeanor traffic charges. Our aggressive lawyers will work hard to protect your legal rights. Contact the Nahajski Firm today at (206) 621-0500 to schedule a free consultation.