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No more warnings; New distracted driving law in full effect

SEATTLE, Wash. – The grace period is over – that’s the warning from state troopers this month as they start cracking down on distracted drivers.

Drivers are no longer allowed to hold cell phones while on the road. Your phone can sit on the console or cup holder but drivers are not allowed to touch the screen, text, or watch videos – even while at a stop light.

The new law was passed by state lawmakers last spring. Governor Jay Inslee changed the effective date for the new law to start over the summer – and gave drivers a 6-month grace period. That period ended this month.

During the grace period, law enforcement reported handing out nearly 7,000 warnings for distracted driving.

A first violation of the new law will cost you $136. If you’re pulled over a second time the fine increases to $234, and the tickets are reported to your insurance company.

Remember – insurance companies take a number of things into account when figuring out auto rates – tickets and accidents play a role. Bottom line - put the phone down or pay the price.