The Kirkland Police Department joins participating cities in the Washington State Patrol’s (WSP) new enforcement campaign – “Text, Talk, Ticket.” Starting June 10, police agencies across the state will begin enforcing the newly-revised law restricting the use of wireless devices by drivers. According to WSP, the revised law makes texting or improper cell phone use primary offenses; meaning that drivers can be pulled over for those violations alone. The new law prohibits texting or checking email while driving or stopped at intersections and talking on handheld cell phones while driving or stopped at intersections. It also prohibits the use of electronic devices by younger drivers with an intermediate driver’s license or learner’s permit, with or without a hands-free device (unless reporting an emergency). Multiple traffic violations on an intermediate driver’s license can lead to suspension and even an extension of the intermediate license restrictions until the driver turns 21. Tickets are $124 and could be more if a distracted driver causes a collision. Drivers are encouraged to keep cell phones out of reach while driving. For public safety information from the U.S. Department of Transportation, visit www.distraction.gov.
Since 2008 the law has prohibited drivers from texting while driving and required those talking on cell phones to use hands free devices. However, the earlier version of the law considered violations as “secondary;” meaning that officers had to see a different violation in order to make a traffic stop. To read the Washington State laws pertaining to cell phone use while driving, go to http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW (Revised Code of Washington, 46.61.667, 46.61.668, 46.20.055, 46.20.075).