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Tougher cell phone ban becomes law

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on March 26, 2010 at 11:26 am with 10 Comments »
March 26, 2010 11:26 am

Hang up, drivers. Gov. Chris Gregoire has just signed a law that puts new teeth into the ban on phone use while driving.

Gregoire spoke strongly in favor of the bill and said she disagreed with claims made by the opponents who contacted her asking for a veto:

“Those that have said to me, well it’s no different than having a cup of coffee, the coffee doesn’t talk back to me. The coffee doesn’t have anything to say to me. A cell phone does. What if I’m a young person and my boyfriend or girlfriend’s breaking up with me? Am I really concentrating on what I’m doing?”

The bill, pushed by Sen. Tracey Eide, will allow police to pull drivers over for talking on their phones or sending text messages. You can avoid the $124 ticket by using a hands-free device, which remains legal unless you’re under 18.

Eide won support from cellular companies by allowing hands-free talking. She said today she feels her public-safety goals have been accomplished and she doesn’t foresee trying to toughen it further by banning all cell-phone conversations.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. manshelton says:

    way to make sure people buy hands-free devices, what a victory for mall kiosks…now i can break up with my girlfriend over speaker while drinking coffee and smoking on the freeway. all without breaking the law. Yay!

  2. FreeAmerica says:

    Another fine example of the states unexplained ignorance.

    Talking on the phone is NOT the problem…..Dialing and texting is.

    Ever tried to use the voice recognition dialing?

    Anthor usless law.

  3. twstrickland says:

    Once again the government doesn’t get it. Every credible study shows that it is not the act of holding a phone to your ear that creates a distraction; it is the conversation that is occurring that is the distraction. With this logic, or lack thereof, why didn’t the legislature ban smoking while driving, or eating and drinking in the car, or having small animals running about the car while it is in motion. Why not take this line of thinking its logical end; all drivers will be fined $124 if their hands are not at ten and two while the vehicle is underway. Come on you clowns in Olympia let’s keep our eye on the ball and balance the budget and properly fund basic education!

  4. I think it’s a case of “take what you can get”. Right now we can get the lobbyists and lawmakers to ban non-handsfree use. That’s a great start and will save some lives. The next step is to go further with the law once it’s been shown that hands free is just as dangerous, but that will be a much tougher task.

  5. claude69 says:

    hooray! Now we need a Hotline to (handsfree call) report abusers, like the one for people throwing cigarettes out their windows (1-866-548-8372). If I could just get that voice recognition feature to work right.

  6. debivans says:

    All I know is if you just sit and watch traffic it is crazy how many people are involved with their phones. Try it, it is scary. What are we all talking about? What is so important? How did we ever get by without these super walkie talkies? All this amazing technology and we use it for “sexting” and complaining to our BFFs about how long the line took at Starbucks. And when our heads are in the conversation it does take more of the higher decision processing part of the brain. Not like something that is more of the base/limbic system part like eating or smoking, there is a difference.

  7. Whatever1214 says:

    When does this law take effect?

  8. Great, i feel safer already. I suggest, all you naysayers, that you just try it and see how much safer you feel and how much more you notice on your drive. Why is it that everything needs to be proven? How many more folks will lose their lives because a few idiot believe they can walk and chew gum at the same time. Of course, I know folks who can’t even use the ear pieces and still drive, yeah, i’m talking about you, my friend. you know who you are and how lucky you haven’t killed someone or yourself.

  9. LADYSPIRIT1956 says:

    I’m glad that this law is going into effect. I was rear ended by a woman who was gabbing on her cell phone in a construction zone on the freeway, using 3 of us as her brakes. She was “busy” making plans to go out that night with her girl friends. She didn’t make it to the outing. She was too upset for us being in front of her. Friends wonder why I commute by bus. What I see on the freeway is scary!

  10. I’m sure the break-up will be much less distracting delivered via speaker phone, Gov. Gregoire. Are you coming after my non-stop-jabbering preschooler or screaming toddler next?

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