Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

May 05, 2010

WASHINGTON: Texting, using phone while driving now a primary offense


Holding a mobile phone to your ear or sending a text message while driving in Washington may result in a traffic ticket under new legislation signed by Governor Gregoire. Previously, police couldn’t issue a citation for such violations unless they pulled the driver over for other reasons. That will change beginning June 10, 2010 (2010 Wash Laws Ch 223).


Tips: The law still allows some exceptions, such as reporting illegal activity, summoning emergency help or preventing injury to people or property. The new law also adds an exception for relaying time-sensitive information between a transit or for-hire operator and the operator’s dispatcher, if the mobile device is permanently attached to the vehicle. Vigilant recommends restricting employees’ use of any communication device while driving on company business. See our Model Policies, “Use of Company Vehicles” (3301) and “Personal Calls and Use of Personal Communication Devices” (3454).