New WA Bill Bans All Use of Hand-Held Electronic Devices While Driving
It’s passed the House, back to the Senate for final revisions, and now it’s headed to Governor Inslee’s desk for final signing. You won’t get “the business” but you will get a ticket.
It began as Senate Bill 5289, and it carries a first-time offense ticket of $136. In a nutshell, it bans any use of an electronic hand-held device while driving. This includes cellphones, laptops, tablets while driving, or waiting for a light to change.
There are some exceptions. Calling emergency services such as 911, operating an emergency vehicle, or transit system drivers to communicate important information. It would also allow activities that are necessary for federally authorized commercial drivers.
But basically, once it’s signed and goes into effect January 1, 2019, if you’re seen holding any electronic device while behind the wheel on the road, you will get a ticket if an officer sees you. Hands free bluetooth systems that keep your hands on the wheel are allowed, as are related push-button or voice activated calling systems.
This bill expands the previous cellphone ‘only’ ban by giving you a ticket for operating or being seen holding any electronic device while driving.