How often are cell phone/texting tickets written?

The in basket: Mike Wray writes, “My wife and I were very dutiful about getting a hands-off device for our cells while driving, commonly called a Bluetooth, so we could comply with the new law that went into effect last June.  However, we still see multitudes of drivers of all ages who either choose to ignore, or are ignorant of the law.

“Can you address the efforts of local law enforcement to curb this or at least a few unannounced emphasis patrols?   We can’t be the only folks who see the huge number of drivers who continue to use their hand-held devices to call or text.”

The out basket: My wife regularly reports to me when we pass a driver with a cell phone to his or her ear, so I’m sure the law is routinely violated. I don’t see if myself very often, as looking to my right for more than a glance while I’m at the wheel is chancy.

I asked the three largest law enforcement offices here for some figures for cell phone and texting citations since they became primary offenses that can be ticketed without an underlying infraction last June.

Deputy Scott Wilson of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office says KCSO’s deputies have issued 196 tickets since June 1 for having a cell phone to the driver’s ear, and six for texting.

Lt. Pete Fisher of Bremerton police traffic division says his officers have written 144 cell phone citations and two texting tickets, nearly all during two emphasis patrols in June and July.

And Trooper Krista Hedstrom of the Bremerton State Patrol office, says its troopers have stopped 296 drivers for cell phone use (132 tickets issued) and 14 for texting (6 tickets issued).  “The decision to issue a ticket is entirely at the officers discretion,” she added.

None of the three said so, but I must assume the comparatively few texting citations, despite the greater danger texting represents, can be attributed to the greater ability to carry it on out of sight of a passing car, compared to having a cell phone at one’s ear.

Scott Wilson adds, “Sheriff’s deputies are well aware of what’s occurring out there with certain drivers who seem to disregard these more recent laws, in total.  Patrol / traffic deputies can’t be everywhere.

“A number of drivers will ‘get away with it’ probably many, many times.  The one time they will wish that they had paid attention will be when they are the ‘at fault’ driver in a motor vehicle collision due to their failure to comply with the law.”


2 thoughts on “How often are cell phone/texting tickets written?

  1. I don’t know why anyone would ask the BPD about citations issued for use of hand-held cell phones when the department has already stated in a Sun article the police are OK to use their cells while driving, supposedly for official business. What I don’t understand is why they are not issued Bluetooth-type devices so as to at least give the appearance of confrming to the law. I have seen several officers in their patrol cars, cruising, one hand draped over the wheel, the other holding the phone. Seems if anyone was really serious about this, the fine would be more impressive, the phones confiscated and sent overseas to those in uniform.

  2. A foot patrol at the end if the Mannett bridge, in my estimation, would net that many volators in a few days.

    As I wait for the light to change to make a left turn off Washington Ave, about every other driver coming the other way has a phone in their ear as they make their turn onto the bridge. One, in fact, must have lost control because a half dozen or so posts along the fence separating pedestrians from vehicles were taken out last month.

    It’s scary walking over there.

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