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Tag: Washington State Patrol


Washington State Patrol flips switch today on first part of $40 million radio upgrade

State troopers working in the Yakima area will be the guinea pigs for the upgrade, ushering in the digital era for the patrol.

The $40 million project will replace equipment at dispatch centers and mountaintop relay sites and buy more than 2,000 new radios that will go in the car and on the hip of every trooper. It’s scheduled to be in place by Jan. 1 to comply with a federal mandate calling for reduced use of bandwidth by law enforcement to free up space on the radio spectrum for more users.

The project goes beyond the Federal Communications Commission “narrowbanding”

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Gov. Gregoire vetoes study of State Patrol radio upgrade

Gov. Chris Gregoire today signed the $9.8 billion transportation budget (the AP’s Jonathan Kaminsky has more here) but she vetoed a section that called for a study of the State Patrol’s radio upgrade.

A state lawmaker who inserted the section called it another sign government is “addicted to the crack cocaine” of “old-style, clunky, proprietary hardware.” Rep. Reuven Carlyle said the debate amounts to a ”religious war” between different schools of thought on technology.

More on that below, but first some background: The patrol is cutting down on its use of the radio spectrum to comply with a federal “narrowbanding” deadline of Jan.

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Q&A: Washington’s texting, talking while driving laws change Thursday

Thursday marks the effective date of Washington’s revised law on using mobile phones and texting while driving. In this special edition of Traffic Q&A, we answer some frequently asked questions about the law.

Got questions of your own?
Post them as a comment we’ll do our best to get them answered.

Isn’t it already a violation to text or have a cell phone on your ear while driving?

Yes. State laws banning texting while driving and requiring a hand-free device for talking on a mobile device while driving went into effect in 2008. But under the law, the violations were considered “secondary offenses,” citable only if an officer pulled you over for a another violation. Still, the Washington State Patrol has written about 3,000 tickets and given 5,900 warnings since the laws went into effect.

What’s new?

The 2010 Legislature made both texting and driving with a non hands-free cell phone primary offenses. That means police can pull you over if they see you texting or on the phone. The WSP has said troopers will immediately start enforcing the primary offense Thursday – it considers two years an ample grace period.

Drivers with instruction permits or intermediate licenses cannot use any type of wireless device while driving, except for emergencies.

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