The era of holding up a cell phone to your ear while
driving in Washington
is over. Granted, it had been illegal for a couple
years, but beyond the reach of the cops if drivers were obeying all
Texting, too, is out.
And don’t pull over to talk on the shoulder, because that’s not
Even the police say they’ll limit time on the phone while
driving, even though they’re exempt from the law.
Will some continue to drive around talking and texting,
ultimately disregarding the law? I suppose, but judging by the
strong words from our local law enforcement leaders, I’d say it’s a
habit that’s going the way of the Dodo.
“In an effort to protect the public and cut accidents we will be
enforcing this law the day it goes into effect,” said Shawn
Delaney, deputy chief of the Poulsbo Police Department.
But even if it’s enforced from the get-go, Al Townsend, chief of
the Port Orchard Police Department, points out that his office is
not planning any type of emphasis patrols. A cell phone violation
will be weighed like any other.
“Officers will maintain the same discretion they have on any
traffic infraction as to whether they will stop and warn the driver
or write a citation,” he said.
But the police, too, have noticed this law has been extensively
covered in the press.
“The Mason County Sheriff’s Office is very much aware of the
extraordinary amount of media coverage this law has had so we do
not anticipate an education period for motorists violating this
law,” said Dean Byrd, Mason County Sheriff’s spokesman.
We already know, however,
what the state patrol’s plans are. They will likely be the
police agency that focuses on this new law most.
UPDATE: Monday, June 14: I heard back from Kitsap County Sheriff
Steve Boyer. Here are some of his observations:
“We are essentially on the same page with the (state) patrol.
Thanks to the media attention, the educational component is well
placed. As previously reported, even with the law enforcement
exemption, we have provided the essential tools for our people to
set a good example.
There will be those who want to argue; however, it is just
common sense (with a strong research foundation); too bad
legislation is required to modify human behavior. Besides, why
would good people want to risk hurting anyone? It was
interesting to me how many fewer people were using cell phones
today (Thursday, the first day of the law) than yesterday.”
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