Many states are enacting distracted driving laws. In July 2017 Washington state enacted a distracted driving law called DUI-E Washington. DUI-E means driving under the influence of electronics. This legislation responds to the documented dangers of using cell phones or other electronic devices while operating a vehicle.
The law is also known as the Washington Hands Free Law, and is the first law of its kind in the country. It regards the risk of using electronic devices while driving to be the same as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Violations of the DUI-E Washington law are subject to being reported. Depending on your existing driving record, a DUI-E ticket could result in license suspension. This would require you to buy SR22 insurance to reinstate your driving privileges.
What is prohibited under the DUI-E Washington law?
The Washington distracted driving law considers the following to be primary offenses while operating a motor vehicle, which means an officer can pull you over if you’re observed doing the following:
- Using hand-held cell phones, laptops, games or other hand-held devices, even if stopped in traffic, at a stop sign or traffic light.
- Using phones to send or receive text messages (texting and driving), photos or data, or to take pictures.
- Watching movies or videos on built-in vehicle screens.
What is allowed under the Washington distracted driving law?
The following use of cell phones and other electronics are allowed under Washington’s DUI-E law:
- Hands-free use of a dashboard mounted smartphone for navigation, as long as it’s limited to a single touch or swipe.
- Built-in electronics that allow hands-free calling or maps.
- Making 911 or other emergency services calls.
- Emergency calls between dispatchers and transit drivers.
- Using hand-held devices if pulled off the road with the vehicle remaining stationary.
- Electronic devices including two-way radio, citizen band radio or amateur radio equipment.
- Emergency and transit drivers are exempt from the law.
What does a DUI-E ticket cost?
If you’re ticketed for a DUI-E Washington violation, the first offense costs $136; a second offense is $235. Information about DUI-E violations goes on your driving record, and is available to insurance companies. So in addition to the cost of a ticket(s), your insurance rate may also increase. If you already have points on your driving record, a DUI-E ticket can result license suspension. This will require you to file a Washington SR22 insurance certificate to reinstate your license.
Distractions like eating, reading, smoking or grooming are secondary offenses that result in a $99 ticket. (Secondary offenses are those that can be ticketed if you’re found to have been doing them when stopped for a primary violation.)
More about Washington’s DUI-E law
You can find more information about distracted driving and the Washington Hands-Free Law / DUI-E Washington law on the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) website.
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If you require a Washington SR22 filing as a result of a DUI-E Washington violation, UltraCar Insurance can help. We’ll find you a low rate and quickly file your certificate. If you don’t own a vehicle, non owner SR22 insurance Washington is available. Click to start a quote now or call to speak with one of our licensed agents!
This article was last updated on February 15th, 2020 by UltraCar Insurance