A new state law toughens up existing distracted driving rules, which only prevented texting and holding a phone to the ear, goes into effect July 23.
Under the new law – the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (DUIE) Act – drivers are forbidden to use any hand-held device behind the wheel, even at a stop light.
Violation of the DUIE Act will now be considered a moving violation like speeding. It is also a primary offense, so police are free to pull a driver over just for using a hand-held device. A first-time DUIE offense will cost a driver $136. For the second DUIE offense, the fine jumps up to $235.
Unlike current law, which exempts cellphone violations from being reported to insurance companies, all violations will be available to insurance companies.
• Drivers may not use hand-held devices while they are driving, stopped in traffic, or at a stoplight. This includes tablets, laptops, game or other hand-held electronic devices. Drivers may not watch videos while they drive.
This does not apply if a driver is contacting emergency services.
Drivers can use hand-held devices when they are pulled over out of the flow of traffic.
• Hands-free use, such as through Bluetooth, is allowed as is a single touch to start a function. Start GPS or music before you drive.
• You can get a $99 ticket for other types of distractions such as grooming, smoking, eating or reading if the activity interferes with safe driving and you are pulled over for another traffic offense.
• Some things are not included in the law. Transit and emergency vehicle drivers are exempt. Drivers of commercial vehicles must follow federal laws.
Two-way radio, citizens band radio or amateur radio equipment are not included in the law.
– For more information, visit wadrivetozero.com/distracted-driving