"I'm on the way home, need anything?"
Your habit of texting someone during your commute home likely should change now that your simple message could cost you $136 or more. Washington Traffic Safety Commission reminds motorists that the grace period has ended for Washington's new E-DUI law. Up until January 1, 2018, officers were issuing warnings--nearly 6,500 warnings--but not any longer. Now if you are cited for texting and driving, you receive a fine.
What Devices Apply to Washington's E-DUI Law?
Now, if you use any device in the car—cell phone, tablet, laptops, or other electronic devices—and you are caught by the police, you can expect a ticket of $136. The new law applies also when you are stopped at red lights or stopped in traffic for any other reason. You may use devices only if you have hands-free or one-touch activation.
The law charges that when using these devices while driving, motorists are distracted and are unable to respond quickly or accurately while in traffic. Studies have shown that crashes and fatalities that have occurred because of distracted driving have been 100 percent preventable. The law was enacted as a powerful response to these accidents, and as a step toward diminishing road crashes and deaths in Washington. After the first citation and within five years, drivers' fines increase to $234. Plus, police notify your insurance company of the infraction, which could cost you more in car insurance.
The law also provides for other forms of distractions. If you are involved in a traffic violation of another kind and are found to have been distracted by an activity such as eating, reading, putting on make-up, or otherwise, you could receive an additional ticket for driving while “dangerously distracted” to the tune of a $99 fine in addition to any other violation fines.
Hundreds of thousands of accidents occur each year because of distracted driving. If you must talk on the phone while driving, a Bluetooth or similar device is your best option. It just is not worth the fines or the hassle to use your device while driving. You could save your life and the lives of others around you on the road. If you do not have a Bluetooth and you must use your phone or your phone's services or apps, pull over and away from traffic to activate it.
Karimi Law helps Washington motorists overcome traditional DUI charges. For years, Steve Karimi prosecuted criminal cases in the state's courts. Now, he puts those years of experience to work in taking on criminal defense cases. If you or a loved one have been charged with a criminal offense, Karimi Law Office is your place to begin your defense. Call our office today to learn how our experienced attorneys can help you plan your defense.