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Wednesday, June 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Washington

No more holding cell phones with new driving law in effect

UPDATED: Sun., July 23, 2017, 8:59 p.m.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, right, holds a cell phone as he speaks during a press event, Monday, July 17, 2017, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., to raise awareness of Washington state’s new law prohibiting the use of nearly all phones and mobile devices while driving. The law, which is part of the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act, went into effect July 23, 2017. Looking on at left is John Batiste, Chief of the Washington State Patrol. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, right, holds a cell phone as he speaks during a press event, Monday, July 17, 2017, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash., to raise awareness of Washington state’s new law prohibiting the use of nearly all phones and mobile devices while driving. The law, which is part of the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act, went into effect July 23, 2017. Looking on at left is John Batiste, Chief of the Washington State Patrol. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
Associated Press

OLYMPIA – Washington drivers will now have to put down their cell phones under a new distracted driving law.

The law that went into effect Sunday prohibits drivers from holding electronic devices – including phones, tablets and other electronic gadgets – while behind the wheel. That means no reading incoming text messages while driving, or watching a quick video while stuck in traffic or sitting at a red light.

Texting or holding a phone to your ear is already against the law.

Under the measure, “the minimal use of a finger” to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of a personal electronic device while driving will still be allowed.

The standard traffic fine of $136 would apply to a first offense. It would increase to about $234 for a second offense.

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