Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Washington State Law ESSB 5037

Washington State put the following law into effect as of July 1, 2008:
Any person operating a moving motor vehicle while holding a wireless communications device to
his or her ear is guilty of a traffic infraction unless the person is:

  • operating an authorized emergency vehicle;
  • using a hands-free wireless communications device in hands-free mode;
  • operating an amateur radio and possesses a valid amateur radio operator license from the Federal Communications Commission;
  • using a hand-held wireless communications device to report illegal activity, summon
    medical or emergency assistance, or prevent injury to a person or property.

The penalty for an infraction is a $101 ticket.

Last weekend, while driving, Magnolia was talking on her play cell phone. As usual, after a while she wanted us to talk on her phone. She stretched it toward Brian in the passenger seat and said, "Papa phone." He held a pretend conversation, then: "oh, what's that? You want to talk to Magnolia again? Here you go." She refused the phone, pointed at me -- the driver -- and said "Mama!"

As per Magnolia's request, Brian handed me the phone and I began a surprisingly pleasant chat with a piece of plastic. Suddenly remembering the new cell phone law I stopped to voice my concern: "I wonder if I can get a ticket for this?"

I can just see the headlines: "Motorist Ticketed for Talking on Pretend Cell Phone."

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