Washington Governor Jay Inslee says drivers using a cell phone are more dangerous than drunk drivers with blood alcohol content level at 0.08%. In the last three or so years, motor vehicle crashes have proven this fact and in July, Washington passed its Electronic Driving While Impaired Law. For the first six months, the law included a grace period. This means officers were educating drivers and giving warnings letting them know the basic tenets of the law.
The grace period is now over for Washington's new law and drivers of all ages can be arrested for using cell phones, applying make-up, eating food, or doing anything that demands the drivers' attention. Beginning now, if you are caught breaking this new law, a citation could be issued to you to the tune of $99. The information is also furnished to your insurance company, which could affect your rates or insurability.
Washington joins more than a dozen states nationwide who have enacted distracted driver laws. The law, known as E-DUI also prohibits using a cell phone in the car when the car is stopped. As with many laws, motorists are required to be informed of the law; ignorance of the law cannot be used as a defense.
Some drivers think the law is a hindrance since phones are often a good source to find alternate routes to congestion. The State, however, feels that the law is a benefit: it is expected to slice off a percentage of the high number of motor vehicle accidents attributed to distracted driving on Washington roads and highways.
Are there circumstances under which a driver can use a cellphone in Washington?
There are several circumstances under which a driver can still use devices in Washington without the threat of an E-DUI. Below are some of those exceptions:
- You started your GPS device or music before you began driving.
- You parked your vehicle and were away from the flow of traffic.
- You were contacting emergency services.
- You had a hands-free tool, such as Bluetooth, and could initiate its use with a single touch or swipe.
E-DUI tickets are less serious than traditional DUI arrests. However, they can still be costly when figuring in fines. Additionally, if you already have suffered increases in insurance because of other violations, an E-DUI ticket can tip the scales and add to the weight of other surcharges.
Steve Karimi is knowledgeable about DUI law. He has prosecuted cases in Washington courts and now can apply his experience and background to fight for you and your rights. If you have been charged with a DUI and/or you have received an E-DUI ticket and are wondering how this will impact your case or your driving record, contact the Karimi Law Office today.