OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – Washington drivers will soon have to put down their phones or else face tougher penalties under a new distracted driving law that takes effect this weekend.
Texting or holding a phone to your ear is already against the law, but the new law that takes effect Sunday prohibits anything else that requires drivers to hold their electronic devices – including phones, tablets and other electronic gadgets – while behind the wheel.
That means no reading of incoming text messages while driving, or watching a quick video while stuck in traffic or sitting at a red light.
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 but would increase to about $234 for a second offense.