Washington troopers warn drivers about new law

The new distracted driving law is stricter

Washington State Trooper Will Finn warns drivers about the new distracted driving law. (KOIN)
Washington State Trooper Will Finn warns drivers about the new distracted driving law. (KOIN)

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — The Washington State Patrol is already pulling drivers over to warn them about violations under the state’s new distracted driving law. 

Law enforcement officials are trying to clear up some confusion about the new law. Most people realize they should not be texting while driving, but eating in the car and even driving with dog can get you into trouble now.

That law states you can no longer even hold your phone while driving. It needs to be mounted to the dash or in a cup holder and you can only touch it once or swipe to answer a call — no typing is allowed.

A hand’s free device like a blue tooth or ear buds are allowed, but only in one ear.

Trooper Will Finn pulled over a driver in a new car who appeared to be distracted on a phone while stopped at a light. That might have been OK under the old law, but now it’s worth a warning or ticket.

“That’s not my usual practice, but like I said, it’s a new car,” Annette Therrien said. “I was just dealing with the radio and I was stopped, so I’m still guilty, but I think that law is a long time coming.”

Also, no grooming — like putting on makeup or shaving — is allowed.

When it comes to eating, Finn said it’s generally OK if you take a sip of your drink, then put it back in the cup holder or munch on some French fires with one hand.

“Those are not the activities we are talking about,” Finn said. “We are talking about the person who has taken a bowl of cereal or made an oatmeal because they are running late for work and now they are sitting in traffic driving and they are driving with their knees eating that bowl of cereal.”