Traffic Safety

Cell Phone Law

On June 10, 2010, Washington's cell phone law went into effect - with strict police enforcement. If police see you holding a phone to your ear or texting while driving, they can pull you over. Tickets are $124 and could be more if your distracted driving causes a collision.

The law means:

  • No talking on handheld cell phones while driving.
  • No texting while driving.
  • Teens with intermediate driver licenses or learner permits may not use a wireless device at all while driving, including hands-free devices, unless they're reporting an emergency.

This law is not meant to encourage the use of hands-free devices. Hands-free devices offer no safety benefit. Parking your phone is the only safe way to drive. Pulling to the shoulder to talk on the phone or text is rarely a safe option and should only be done in an emergency.

  • One study shows that cell phone drivers are as impaired as drunk drivers who have a .08% blood-alcohol level.
  • Talking on a cell phone - with or without a hands-free device - increases the chance of crashing by four times.
  • Texting drivers look down for 5 seconds at a time on average - enough time at highway speeds to cover more than the length of a football field.

For more information:  www.distracteddriving.nsc.org/

Source:  Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, Washington State Patrol, Department of Licensing, and the Driven to Distraction Task Force of Washington State

School Zone Safety

During the school year the Traffic Unit is conducts school zone speed enforcement. All the school zones are active when lights are flashing or children are present so careful attention to speed is necessary to protect the safety of kids traveling to/from school. Remember the speed in a school zone is 20 m.p.h.

Here is some startling information on risk of death to pedestrians based on vehicle speed:

Pedestrian Fatality Risk at Various Striking Vehicle Speeds

14 MPH             5%
21 MPH            10%
25 MPH             25%
28 MPH             58%
30 MPH            75%
35 MPH             99%

School bus with the stop paddle safety tips
  • Drivers need to stop in a two lane road no matter which way the bus in traveling.
  • If the road is divided, the cars that are traveling in the same direction need to stop.
  • If there is a two-way turn lane, cars in the turn lane need to stop as well as the vehicle that is going the same direction as the bus.

 

No Texting While Driving!

Washington State has two cell-phone related driving laws that began in 2008 and were upgraded in 2010 to a primary stop law. This law bans text messaging so if police see you holding a phone to your ear or texting while driving, they can pull you over. Tickets are $124 and could be more if your distracted driving causes a collision. This is not a hands-free ordinance, but a complete ban on text messaging.
 

Hands Free Law

The other Washington State driving law that went into effect in 2008 was the hands-free law which was updated in 2010. This hands-free cell-phone law prohibits the use of a wireless device such as a cell-phone being held to your ear while driving. The safest method is not to be on the phone when you are driving but if you must take a call you should use a hands free device such as a bluetooth headset or wired headset while driving. If police see you holding a phone to your ear or texting while driving, they can pull you over. Tickets are $124 and could be more if your distracted driving causes a collision. So remember Hang Up And Drive!