In the beginning of 2008 Washington has joined New York, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Connecticut and California in outlawing the practice of speaking on a hand-held cell phone while driving. Exempts drivers of emergency vehicles and tow trucks, drivers who have hearing aids and drivers reporting emergencies or illegal activities. In May 2007 Washington was the first state to ban the practice of texting while driving; New Jersey passed a similar law soon after. The fine for driving while texting is set at $101, but since it is a secondary offense (a driver must first be pulled over for some more grievous infraction).
As of March 2008, it is not illegal to talk on a cell phone while driving in the State of Washington; however, in 2007, the Washington Legislature passed a bill restricting cell phone use with a driver's hand(s) while driving. Governor Christine Gregoire signed this bill into law, but the restriction will not take effect until July 2008. Use of a cell phone while driving by using a hands-free device will still be allowed.