Everything you need to know about Washington’s new distracted driving law

The new Washington state distracted driving law goes into effect July 23. Breaking this law could result in a $136 ticket (subsequent offenses within a five-year period jump to $235) or worse – a collision. Not sure what is and is not okay? We’ve laid it out for you.

Drivers may not use hand-held cell phones or other devices (phones, laptops, tablets, games) when…

  1. Driving

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  1. Stuck in traffic

stuck in traffic

  1. Or at a stoplight.


But what about my maps? And my tunes?

Watching video, starting GPS and starting music is illegal while driving. Set up everything you’ll need for your trip before putting your car into gear.

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Bluetooth is ok!

Hands-free use, such as through Bluetooth, is allowed as is a single touch to start a function.


Research shows that phone conversations reduce visual attention. Pass your phone to the passenger, put it in the glove box, or turn it off before you drive.

Want more details on the new distracted driving law? Visit wadrivetozero.com/distracted-driving.

Originally posted on July 11, 2017.

7 thoughts on “Everything you need to know about Washington’s new distracted driving law

  1. Hopefully this will help. Why not include people who have their dogs on their laps when driving? I’m really tired of seeing that and wondering when the dogs leg gets stuck in the steering wheel. Also passengers are more of a distraction that bluetooth calls. What do we do about them?

    1. Good point! Actually, you can also get a $99 ticket for other types of distractions if the activity interferes with safe driving and if you are pulled over for another traffic offense.

      1. Yes – the cell phone piece is stand-alone, but all other distractions are in conjunction with other offenses.

  2. So… Good luck enforcing this ridiculous law. And here’s why. 1. Look around you, how many vehicles have tinted windows? Heavily tinted windows? Try looking inside to see if the driver is holding/using their phone while driving. 2. Look around again and see all the trucks? Jacked up, compensating for small dicks/egos whatever? Think a cops gonna be able to see if the driver is holding/using his phone? No way. Oh and they have tinted windows too. Dumb Laws are those that are unenforceable. 3. See all the women out there driving? (and this isn’t a dig on the opposite sex, just a fact of life.) Women multi-task like nobody’s business. You see them driving with their knees, (ya is great owning a truck) doing their makeup, talking on the phone, managing backseat screaming meemies, drinking, eating, blah, blah, blah,etc, etc. Think this law is going to stop the law of human nature? Hell no! And keep in mind that statistics say 40% of females are armed with a handgun or worse, and those same statistics prove that at any given time at least 25% of female drivers are also on their period. So think a cops gonna mess with those odds over a phone? Not on your life. As long as they haven’t committed some other traffic violation like running a red light or doing 60 in a 35mph zone, a cop isn’t gonna go looking for phone offenders since EVERYONE OWNS A PHONE! 4. Watch the 1st amendment lawsuits start appearing in court over violation of privacy, when a cop pulls someone over on the only premise that they thought the driver might be using their phone. This is a bad “feel good” law that like the Prohibition Laws of the 20s will not stop nor curb people from doing what they want to do. 5. There are already laws on distracted driving on the books. So why make a new, unenforceable law that only turns every one of us who own phones into criminals? Control. Government control of your life because you are too stupid, too young, too old, too tall, too short, too fat, too skinny, too naive, too blond to know what is good for you. (and we need tax revenue). Did you know that the average law abiding citizen of the good ol US of A commits three felonies a day? We are over-taxed, over ruled, outlawed and out of money. End the insanity in trying to rule over every detail in our lives. We legalized merry jo wanna! What the hell kind of screwed up State votes to make people more stupid and then votes to criminalize their behavior?? Do you think a stupid person is gonna stop using their phone simply because they are driving? Oh, wait. I see whats going on here…-gets out a phat blunt and lights up. “ahhhh, all better now. Time to go pick up the kids from soccer.”….”Oops almost forgot my phone.” -exits stage right.

  3. Wow, can’t even change the radio station while driving anymore. What a joke. As usual, this law has been taken too far.

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