UPDATE–New WA Cellphone Ban Goes Effect in July, Not Next January
Calling the issue of texting-talking while driving an "urgent problem" the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission (WSTSC) commended Gov. Jay Inslee's veto of the original January 1, 2019 start date for the new Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Bill, instead, it will start this coming July.
WSTSC officials say with Inslee's modification, anyone caught holding a cellphone or electronic device while driving after mid July will now face that $132 dollar fine.
The bill, known as the "Distracted Driving Bill", will go into effect on or around July 15, according to KING-5 TV in Seattle.
Originally, legislators wanted to give drivers more time to adjust to having to put down the phone or other digital device while behind the wheel, but under pressure from the WSTSC, Inslee vetoed the start date, and it will now take effect this summer.
The WSTSC released this statement Tuesday:
“Distracted driving is a major cause of crashes on Washington’s highways. The new distracted driving law signed by the governor today will save lives. Fatalities from distracted driving increased 32 percent from 2014 to 2015 in Washington, and 71 percent of distracted drivers are engaging in the most dangerous distraction, using their cell phones behind the wheel. With the passage and signing of the `Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act,’ the governor and legislature are taking needed action to address an urgent problem."