Don’t read this while driving: Distracted driving ticket numbers are in

By Craig Sailor

The News Tribune

TACOMA — Washington’s new distracted driving law went into effect July 23, but the Washington State Patrol is handing out fewer citations.

It’s not because drivers are behaving better. Troopers issued 310 warnings during the first week of the law, compared with 155 the previous week.

The reason: The State Patrol is operating in an education mode rather than a citation mode until January, according to the State Patrol.

That doesn’t mean drivers get a free pass. “If troopers observe distracted driving violations coupled with other dangerous driving behaviors, or if you’ve already received a warning about the new law, you run the risk of getting a ticket,” the State Patrol said in a release.

The law bans using cellphones, tablets, laptops and video games while driving.Fines will start at $136 and could reach $234. Other behavior that interferes with safe driving, such as grooming, smoking, eating or reading, could result in a $99 ticket if a driver is pulled over for another offense.