Senate toughens state's cell phone driving law - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Senate toughens state's cell phone driving law

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington Senate has approved a measure that makes it easier for police to pull over drivers who use a cell phone without a handsfree device.
     
On a 33-15 vote Friday, the Senate passed a bill that makes it a primary offense to be caught holding a cell phone to your ear while driving. That strengthens the state's current law, which only slaps drivers with an extra fine if they are caught holding a cell phone when pulled over for another infraction, such as speeding.
     
The bill passed Friday also outlaws any cell phone use by a driver with a learner's permit or an intermediate license, which is given to drivers under 18 years old.
     
The measure now heads to the House for further consideration.

Cell phone use while driving more dangerous than previously thought

(July 21, 2009)

Newly released government documents reveal cell phone use while driving is more dangerous than you were told.

Through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits, consumer advocacy groups 'Public Citizen' and 'The Center for Auto Safety' released the full findings of government research documents saying talking and texting while driving is a dangerous distraction.

Margaret Kwoka, attorney for the group Public Citizen, said, "Whether you're doing that on hands-free device or on a hand held cell phone the distraction of the conversation causes the increased likelihood of a car crash."

Public Citizen says since 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration failed to disclose the research.

"NHTSA knew years back that hands free devices did not eliminate the risk of talking on the cell phone while driving," said Kwoka.

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