The above article states that this new infraction makes it a secondary offense, meaning police officers can’t use it as the primary reason for pulling a driver over. An officer would have to have some other cause to stop the driver. Is this true? Recently, I got pulled over for SMC 11.58.008 in Seattle for looking at my phone to much while following my phone GPS. I plan to fight this.
Unfortunately the article you reference is referring to the king county code (46.20.010) which does require in section D that the person be stopped for another primary infraction first. Seattle Municipal Code 11.58.008 has no such provision and was part of the City Code prior to the County adopting a similar provision. You have been cited under a city code that (at least in my reading) does not have a provision that requires any additional infraction to be committed to justify the stop. This does not constitute legal advise, just a cursory reading of the two codes.
The good news is that you may have other defenses and you lose nothing by contesting the ticket. Inattentive driving, if found committed, is not reported to your insurance and most courts do not add any fines or fees for contesting your ticket.
Lucas D. McWethy
Under King County Code, Inattentive Driving is a secondary offense (meaning it can't be the sole basis for the stop). However, you were cited under the Seattle Municipal Code. Seattle's Inattentive Driving law is a primary infraction. Under Washington State law you cannot use a wireless communication device while driving (for talking, texting, etc.). So, the officer probably had a basis to stop you other than inattentive driving anyway. This is a ticket that does not get reported to insurance company and it usually makes more sense to mitigate ( ask the judge to reduce the fine).
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