Washington State Bans Texting While Driving

Starting in January 2008, it will be illegal to text while driving in Washington State. The measure signed into law by Governor Chris Gregoire also bans talking on a cellphone without a hands-free device while driving. Violators will be punished with a fine, but only if first pulled over for another reason.

Under the new laws, drivers who read and compose text messages or talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device could face a $101 ticket. The text-messaging ban takes effect Jan. 1; the cell-phone law will be enforced starting in July 2008.

Drivers will be exempt in “some situations, including emergencies.” — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Cell phone bill, text message ban signed into law [AP]



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  1. superlayne says:

    Finally. What idiot texts and drives?

  2. erock0 says:


  3. whitespider says:

    Hah. Awful. This may or may not be a good thing. If they ban it, kids will just want to do it more. ‘Don’t tell us what to do, we’ll want to do it more’ is a common part of human nature.

  4. Jigen says:

    Talking on cell phones while driving is already illegal here, but I still see people doing it all the time. Its one of those laws that never gets enforced so why even bother?

  5. The Gigante says:

    i do this daily

    it is the stupidest thing in the world and it should be banned. I figured it already was. Good to know i have at least another year or two before i cant get busted.

    That is of course if I dont die first.

  6. ShadowFalls says:

    Well, if they are kids and their parents are paying for things, they will see those things taken away when they get ticket after ticket. Finally good seeing politicians not wasting our time, a law that actually makes sense.

    Laws are important, so is enforcement, it really depends on how much your law enforcement cares about these things. I expect many to get hit with this though. I am sure warning will be handed out for some time since most people seem to be ignorant of laws.

  7. Onouris says:


    Well if they like the idea of their parents identifying their bodies, let them.

    How could they possibly set the date for July 2008? Talk about dragging your heels.

  8. kenposan says:

    The problem is that you have to be pulled over for something else first. Just texting while driving won’t get you pulled over. So if you text and drive safely…

    dumb law with no teeth.

  9. RumorsDaily says:

    What on Earth could constitute a texting emergency? I defy anyone to come up with one that doesn’t somehow involve a deaf person.

  10. SkippyKilimanjaro says:

    @Ingen Angiven: Okay, no deaf people.

    Let’s say you’re a mute…

  11. RagingTowers says:

    I personally hate texting. I find it to be a waste of time, you could just punch in a number and ask the person the question.

    But I’m glad they did something about it while driving. I don’t understand why they would have to…anyone who texts while driving is a moron.

    My sister did it once while driving and I was riding with her. I gave her a good smack upside her head for it too.

  12. joelion says:

    ok, and they will enforce this….. how?

  13. sled_dog says:

    I live in Washington.

    The cops around here have this great little device they use that is part radar detector and part camera. When they see you speeding or in the HOV lane when you shouldn’t be there it snaps a picture of the car, including the inside through the windshield. If you don’t have your seat belt on, or are talking on the cell phone … boom. Photographic evidence.

    BTW, it IS against the law to use the cell phone to make calls while driving, the conditions are the same as text messaging.

    It’s about time!

  14. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I nearly went off the road trying to dial a phone number, nevermind trying to send a text message. No more dialing and driving; I just pull over to the side of the road now. Phones and driving just don’t mix.

  15. 2Legit2Quit says:

    THANK GOD! Just today, I had a dumb bitch in a F-250 make a left right in front of me when the light turned green (I was going straight). She was on her fucking cell phone and luckily no one was behind me.

    It’s illegal to talk on your cell phone in New Jersey, unfortunately – it’s a secondary law :( so no one follows it.

  16. Mr. Gunn says:

    yada yada trollety troll

    People talk on cell phones, put on makeupo, eat sandwiches, and do all kinds of things while driving, but clearly it’s the phones that need to be legislated against.

  17. FLConsumer says:

    I disabled text messaging on my phone some time ago. No incoming, no outgoing. If it’s important enough to tell me, send me an e-mail or give me a call. Besides, text messages are billed at rates which are so high that you might as well be paying the $100 ticket to send them.

  18. Jesus On A Pogo Stick says:

    Great law, Christine. Way to show that you’ve got a pair. What’s next? Arresting elderly people because they cannot see farther than 3 feet?

    @Mr. Gunn: I totally agree with you. I even saw a man driving while shaving. Too bad it was an electric razor.

    @joelion: By raising my taxes so that they can pay for special police officers to drive their brand new “under cover” vehicles. That’s how.

  19. andyj76 says:

    I’m not sure about the various US states, but here in the UK there are laws against “Driving without Due Care and Attention” and “Dangerous Driving”
    If someone is driving dangerously or distractedly due to using their hand held phone, then these laws would have covered that quite adequately and carried a fairly stiff sentence.
    That didn’t stop the UK from introducing this extra legislation.
    Adding laws to cover situations that are already catered for is counterproductive. Not only this, but as the statute book grows, it becomes harder and harder to be law-abiding, as each new law brings in new interpretations that can be used in novel ways to get you.
    Add this to the increasing tendency to presume guilt unless proven innocent and we’re heading for either a revolution or shuffling meekly into a totalitarian regime.
    Sadly, I think that it’s more likely to be the latter. (got to keep us safe from those terrorists!)

  20. quantum-shaman says:

    I used to text message “while driving”, but only at red lights. Worst case scenario is I pissed somebody off for not moving immediately when the light changed. In DC, this is actually three seconds BEFORE the light changes… but I digress. Now I can’t see the text on my BB anymore without glasses and expanding the font size means I get only three words per screen. I give up. I’m tempted to be cynical say that this is just one more way the state has engineered a way to collect non-dues revenue, but if you have spent ANY significant amount of time driving amongst the Great Unwashed on a daily basis, you would realize that 60% of them are grossly incompetent even without their phones/BBs/PDAs stuck to their face, and applaud the measure. As a matter of fact, I think if they catch you driving while texting, the cop should rip that thing out of your hand and smash it on the pavement immediately. That would get the message through a hell of a lot more clearly than any ol’ $101 fine ever will.

  21. smallestmills says:

    I wish they’d pass this in my state. No, it’s not easy to enforce, but it will make people think twice before doing it. A district manager in my company is forever sending us messages from her Blackberry when we know she’s driving (these messages are long, too.) Perhaps we could forward them to the authorities with her location. No more poorly typed grammatically incorrect “Sent from my Blackberry!” emails! Hooray!

  22. WV.Hillbilly says:

    The Governor of New Jersey’s driver. And at 90 mph, no less!

  23. JohnMc says:

    erock0 says:


    I see. So I presume that you have decided not to add to the gene pool as I figure your demise in an auto accident is probably triple that of any other nondistracted driver on the road.

  24. JohnMc says:

    Mr. Gunn says:

    yada yada trollety troll

    People talk on cell phones, put on makeupo, eat sandwiches, and do all kinds of things while driving, but clearly it’s the phones that need to be legislated against.


    Actually, couldn’t be farther from the truth. If people would get their heads together and realize that the reason you are in the CAR is to DRIVE and that should be your sole function. The need for the friggin laws would disappear if people did that. The whole mindset is a testament to selfishness.

  25. mikyrok says:

    I don’t look at my phone when i text

  26. Buran says:

    @ShadowFalls: Except it’s not something you can be pulled over for unless you’re doing something else wrong. The law has no teeth.

  27. Buran says:

    @Ingen Angiven: I’m hard of hearing. But I still don’t SMS while driving. I, you know … drive.

  28. Trackback says:

    Distracted drivers are an increasing threat on the highways. In 2008, the state of Washington will ban text messaging or any other use of cell phones without a hands-free headset while driving.

  29. s00p3rm4n says:

    THOUGHTS INTERRUPT YOUR CONCENTRATION ON DRIVING. Thoughts must be outlawed while driving, immediately. How many more of our children have to die before you put down your brain and drive?

  30. Triteon says:

    @superlayne: Unfortunately the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has concluded Josh Hancock was texting while driving (and drunk at that), and was talking on his cell phone when he died.

  31. legerdemain says:

    If people would do it properly, texting while driving wouldn’t be a problem. If you have a qwerty keyboard, you shouldn’t be texting. If you have to look at the screen, you shouldn’t be texting. If you can’t use T9, you shouldn’t be texting. If you need both hands, you shouldn’t be texting. If your phone has poor tactile response in the keys, you shouldn’t be texting.

    I would hold the phone low, use T9, use only one hand, enter text blindly, and put the phone down when more attention is needed on the road. Texting should be safer than talking – if you stop listening or talking for several seconds in the middle of a phone conversation, you disrupt the conversation. If you stop sending and receiving text messages for several minutes, it’s no big deal.

  32. Plasmafire says:

    It’s just a matter of time till they ban smoking while driving. After all you are supposed to have two hands on the wheel at all times.

    Nothing makes me laugh more than cell phone junkies and smokers who don’t understand turn signals.

    If you can’t understand how to use a turn signal.. well you probably shouldn’t be driving.

  33. Jesus On A Pogo Stick says:

    you said “If you can’t understand how to use a turn signal.. well you probably shouldn’t be driving”

    It is not that they do not understand turn signals but that they probably feel that the drivers around them are so tuned into their very thought that we know that they are going to turn… or they’re just assholes and don’t give a fuck?

  34. cde says:

    I’d love a chance at watching the DA try to prove someone was texting when they got pulled over. I can see this law providing no revenue other then people who won’t argue it.

  35. Baz L says:

    I don’t know what’s so hard about just driving these days? I was once on one lane highway trying to get around an apparent slow moving drunk driver.

    She was going about 5 under the limit and swerving like crazy. When I finally got the chance to pass here, I looked over while next to hear and noticed he head down and a nice lil’ glow on her face.

    The dumb bitch was texting for the pass 30 minutes (or reading emailing, or news, or watching TV – who knows these days with the way phones are). Right there I understood how psycho target random “innocent” people and kill them and leave them to rot on the side of the highway. It’s bad enough to talk on the phone, but at least your eyes can be one the road.

    But I agree with cde. It’s going to be a fruitless law. What exactly would constitute “texting” while driving? What if you’re dialing (with a headset on), what if you’re looking up a number, what if you’re taking a picture of your privates?