SPOKANE, Wash. — The distracted driving law changes went into effect Sunday and Washington State Troopers are out enforcing the new rules.
However, WSP troopers said it is important to note for the next six months they are really trying to educate people and warn about these changes.
WSP Trooper Rob Nance said he thinks it will be easier to enforce the law now that there are more specific rules. Before the new law was initiated, people were technically allowed to email and use their GPS app while driving.
“Anytime you have an electronic device in your hand it is illegal,” Trooper Nance said.
WSP troopers said the new law could take some getting used to for drivers, so they plan on spending the next six months giving people warnings instead of fines.
“The only way you're going to get a fine right now is if there is a collision involved or if there's extenuating circumstances.. lane travel, if you're following too close, maybe even speed, maybe if you're speeding because you're not paying attention,” Nance said.
Trooper Nance said WSP is still focused on educating drivers on the changes. He pulled someone over for talking on the phone Monday.
"She had her phone to her left ear. She said knew about the new law,” Trooper Nance said. “I'll just give her a warning."
While some law enforcement agencies throughout the state are giving out warnings for now, others have started giving out fines.
Trooper Nance said whether there is a grace period or not, the law is really all about one thing.
“It is all about saving lives,” Trooper Nance said. “It's a tragedy when someone gets killed or dies in a collision because somebody wasn't paying attention to driving like they should be when you’re sitting behind the wheel.”
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