Washington legislature considers law to ban holding phones while driving
Posted Thursday, March 9, 2017 by Lisa Benedetti
In an effort to reduce distracted driving, the Washington State legislature is considering a law that would ban holding an electronic device like a cell phone while driving.
Republican Sen. Ann Rivers, the sponsor of the bill, called it a good public safety measure that repeals the current statute “and replaces it with a much more simple and easier to enforce piece of law.”
Currently people are guilty of an infraction if they hold a phone to their ear while driving, or are caught text messaging.
Under the new measure, drivers would not be allowed to hold a cellphone, tablet or other electronic device in their hands while driving on a public roadway, including while being stopped in traffic. Things like holding a phone to text or use social media or watch a video would be illegal under this measure.
However, the bill would allow the use of a finger to activate or deactivate a function of a device, such as using Siri on the iPhone, and the use of a built-in touch screen control panel within a vehicle to control basic functions like the radio or air conditioning.
The Senate passed Bill 5289 on a 36-13 vote. That bill now heads to the House.
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