New Cell Phone Driving Law Starts Thursday - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

New Cell Phone Driving Law Starts Thursday

(The result of texting while driving) (The result of texting while driving)

SPOKANE, Wash. – Washington State's new "hands free" cell phone law starts Thursday allowing law enforcement authorities to issue citations for drivers who talk on their cell phone while they drive.

The legislation makes talking while driving a primary offense.

Several stores in the Spokane area have reported an increase in hands free devices as the new law approaches.

The Washington State Patrol has said they plan to enforce the law the moment it goes into effect and without any grace period for drivers.

There are a few exceptions to the law that takes effect Thursday in Washington, allowing officers to stop drivers they see talking on a cell phone or texting. A handsfree device may be the best way to avoid a $124 ticket. The Department of Licensing says it's still OK to drive and hold a cell phone.

  • If you wear a hearing aid
  • If you're calling 911 to report a threat to life or property
  • If you set your phone to "speaker" and hold it in front of you.

Spokesman Tony Sermonti says drivers claiming an exception might have to persuade an officer or tell it to the judge.

It's also OK for truckers, bus and taxi drivers and emergency responders to use their radios to talk.

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