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]