Washington State's new distracted driving law went into effect on Sunday, and drivers across the state found themselves questioning just exactly what that means.
The law is intended to encourage safer roads by not allowing drivers to drive while using their phone.
Here are some of the most-asked questions KREM 2 has seen since the law took effect.
- Can I drink a bottle of water without getting pulled over?
Yes, drinking and eating are not primary offenses. The only way you would get fined for it would be if you were breaking the law while eating/drinking at the same time.
- What about Bluetooth devices?
Yes! Officials want you to use handsfree devices when driving.
- What about navigation?
You are allowed to use GPS while driving, you should just type in your destination before you go. You’re allowed to use one finger to trigger Siri (or whatever your phone’s voice activated assistant is called) but just make sure you set your phone down.
Remember, you are not supposed to be holding your phone in your hand while you drive, even at a stoplight.
Washington State Patrol troopers said they do not plan to immediately hand out tickets to begin with. They said they plan to educate drivers for about the first six months, unless a driver is a repeat offender or involved in a crash where distracted driving is a factor.
Trooper Jeff Sevigney said secondary violations – like eating and drinking – will not be their main focus.
“It says you can’t be distracted by your eating. Now most of us don’t have to think to eat. If you do have to think to eat, you should pull over and then continue driving,” said Trooper Sevigney.
He said their main concern is electronic devices such as cell phones and tablets.