How To Comply With Washington State's New Cell Phone Law
No hand-held cell phonesThe new law prohibits drivers from operating a moving motor vehicle and holding a cell phone up to their ear. Based on Washington case law, "operating a moving motor vehicle" has been deemed to occur when one is driving in a parking lot; pulling out of a driveway; driving thru a fast food drive-thru; traveling through a four-way stop, stop light, or in stop and go or slowed traffic.
Some exceptions to hand-held cell phonesYou will not get fined if you were holding a cell phone to your ear and:
1.driving an authorized emergency vehicles or tow truck, or
2.reporting illegal activity (such as a stalker, a robbery, assault, domestic abuse, etc.), or
3.summoning medical or other emergency help (e.g., driving past a collision), or
4.preventing injury to a person or property.
Hands-free cell phones OKYou will not be fined if you are using a cell phone in hands-free mode, such as with a Bluetooth or speaker phone. A multitude of cell phone apps recently became available for a nominal monthly service charge (ranging from $2.99 to $9.99) to curb the habit of calling and texting while driving. A discussion of these various apps is available at the link below titled: "Cell Phone Apps That Blocks Texts and Calls."
What constitutes "texting"?"Texting" does not include reading, selecting or entering a phone number for purposes of placing a phone call. Voice-operated global positioning or navigation system that is affixed to the vehicle and that allows the user to send or receive messages without diverting visual attention from the road or engaging the use of either hand also does not constitute "texting."