The final day of the legislative session brought Sen. Tracey Eide a victory on her top priority – a crackdown on driving while talking on the phone.
The House passed the tougher Senate version of the bill allowing police to pull over drivers for using a phone handset to talk or send a text message. Both are already illegal, but are secondary offenses, meaning police can only ticket drivers for them if they’ve pulled them over for speeding or some other violation. They will become primary offenses if Gov. Chris Gregoire signs the bill.
Last week, the House voted to make texting, not talking on a phone, a primary offense. But it backed down today, with many Democrats and some Republicans supporting a full ban on all use of a handheld phone. Both versions also ban all phone use in cars for teenagers, including for voice-operated phones.
Eide said last week she was disappointed but figured she had to compromise to get anything.
But today she said she had wanted all along to fight, but didn’t want to give away her game plan. It took a lot of behind the scenes work, she said.