Studies have shown that individuals who text and drive at the same time
are 23% more likely to become involved in a collision. Because many vehicle
accidents can be attributed to drivers who multitask by sending text messages
while operating a motor vehicle, Washington is one of many states to enact
laws prohibiting texting and driving. As a result, Washington State police
are on the lookout for people who violate these laws.
In the past, a driver could only be ticketed for texting while driving if it was a secondary offense. This means that if a driver was pulled over for another reason, such as running a traffic light or speeding, and the officer noticed that the driver was texting or using his or her cell phone, the driver would then be cited for that in addition to the infraction that was the basis for the stop.
However, Washington State’s new law makes it a primary offense to send text messages or use a phone without a hands free device (such as Bluetooth). If an officer sees a driver using a cell phone illegally while driving, the officer may pull the driver over and issue a ticket for the offense.
There are certain exceptions to the cell phone laws—drivers are allowed to make a call on their phones without a hands-free device if they are reporting illegal activity or if there is an emergency.
As the law is written now, a texting while driving violation is not placed on the offender’s driving record or reported to his or her insurance company. Instead, the driver could be fined $124 for a texting while driving offense.
If you are charged with texting while driving in connection to another traffic violation, your additional violation might be reported to the insurance company. Crimes such as reckless driving and infractions such as speeding may cause your insurance rates to skyrocket once your provider sees your driving record. Other crimes, such as driving while license suspended or revoked, are considered criminal offenses. If convicted, a driver may face further license suspension or revocation, vehicle impoundment, hefty fines, community service, and possibly jail time.
If you have received an infraction, do not wait too long to call us! There are time limits for paying, contesting or asking to mitigate the infraction or ticket. You should immediately contact us to determine whether you have a winning case. If you do not pay, contest or mitigate by following the directions on the ticket as to the date for responding, your fine may be referred to a collection agency and your license may be suspended.
Callahan Law, P.S., Inc. helps drivers who have been charged with traffic violations. Contact us today to get started fighting your ticket.