New cell phone, texting law in effect

DOL Director Liz Luce speaks at a news conference June 10 on the new cell phone law.

DOL Director Liz Luce speaks at a news conference June 10 on the new cell phone law.

DOL Director Liz Luce and State Patrol Capt. Chris Gundermann talked with reporters in Vancouver, Wash. on June 7 about the dangers of distracted driving and the new law that will give police statewide the ability to ticket drivers using mobile devices illegally as a primary offense starting June 10.

Luce focused on young drivers with intermediate licenses. They’re prohibited from using a cell phone, with or without a hands-free device, except they are reporting an emergency to 911. “Being late for a date is not an emergency,” Luce said.

She went on to say that many parents give their young teens cell phones to help keep them safe, but a phone becomes one of the most dangerous things they can have when they’re behind the wheel, and told the story of 19-year old Heather Lerch, who lost her life in a collision south of Olympia in February. Lerch was texting-while-driving.

Come June 10, drivers with regular licenses are prohibited from using a cell phone without a hands-free device.

You can read more about the event in The Columbian. Or another story in the Everett Herald.

6 Responses to New cell phone, texting law in effect

  1. Grace Brown says:

    I frequently caravan with other vintage trailer enthusists and we use hand held walkie talkies to communicate while traveleing.(directions, request rest or gas stops, etc)..does the new law include the use of walkie talkies?

    • DOL Blog says:

      We certainly won’t claim to speak for the many police agencies around the state when it comes to particular enforcement questions, but the law does specifically address holding ‘wireless communiucations devices’ to your ear. Typically, using a hand-held walkie talkie doesn’t require it to be held to your ear. The law is here. And an abbreviated ‘executive summary’ is here.

  2. dozerdog says:

    Stoping texting is a good law to protect everyone, not just drivers but anyone who could be hurt by an inattentive driver. Rather than DOL issuing the press release it should have been a legislator who sponsored this bill because they are the people who create laws that impact us. Our state agencies and their employees do their job which isn’t creating laws so let’s not mix them.

  3. RainMan says:

    Are some of you insane. Daily, and I mean DAILY, I see idiots driving with their phone to their ear and running off the road, in other lanes and rear ending poeple. This is not a minor distraction like a radio. At one time I could say I knew somebody that was in an accident some time ago. Now I know dozens that have recently been the cause or victim of some idiot on their cell phone. About %85 were texting. Who cares what the “true” reason is for the law. Be it money, vehicle searches ect ect…. If your odds of being in an accident in your life time was 1 in 20, I am sure it is probably 1 out of every 2 people now.
    For those of you that have “vehicle search” issues, if your not doing anything illegal then what do you have to worry about. If you are doing something ilegal then good for the cops and everyone else living a “legal” life.

    • Joesmith says:

      I agree 1000%. If you are doing everything legit then let the cops search away. For the scum and dirtbags that cant figure out that 1. your car has to have front a rear license plate. 2. dont hold the phone to your head while driving. 3 dont break the law. You deserve to be harrased thats why we pay the cops to do their job.

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