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Washington State Patrol Issued 6,850 Tickets During First Year of Cell Phone Ban

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on June 14, 2011

In June 2010, Washington’s legislature made a law that prohibited sending texts or emails on a cell phone while driving into a primary offense, meaning that police could ticket people who violated the law without first having to stop them for another violation, like an illegal lane change or a broken taillight. Since the change a year ago, the Washington State Patrol has issued 6,850 tickets to drivers violating the law, a huge increase from the 1,344 tickets issued before texting became a primary offense.

The law also prohibits holding a cell phone to one’s ear while driving, though drivers can talk on their phones if they use a hands-free device. Drivers who are under age 18 may not use a cell phone in any way while driving, even if it is hands-free.

The 6,850 tickets given for violating the cell phone driving laws made up 47 percent of the drivers who were pulled over for texting or holding the phone in order to talk, according to the Washington State Patrol. This percentage is slightly lower than the year before, when 50 percent of drivers who were pulled over and found to be on the phone were ticketed. These numbers aren’t much different from the percentage of drivers who are given tickets for violating other traffic laws, except for drunk drivers, whom the Washington State Police say are ticketed 100 percent of the time.

Distracted driving results in thousands of accidents in Washington each year, many of which prove to be fatal. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, the experienced Washington cell phone car accident attorneys at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. are ready to help. Call us today at 888-228-3860 for a free and confidential consultation.

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