State troopers may soon be able to pull over cars whose drivers are talking on a handheld cell phone.
The House reversed course Thursday night and agreed with the Senate on a bill to make it a primary offense to use a handheld phone while driving.
“I’ve fought for this for 10 years, and sometimes I thought this day would never come,” Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, the bill’s sponsor, said in a prepared statement. “Maybe now people will pay attention to their driving instead of their conversations.”
Today use of the devices is a secondary offense meaning police can write up the $124 ticket only if they stop a driver for some other offense. Originally, the House wanted to keep it that way but, on a 60-37 vote, receded.
This bill, which now heads to the governor, also makes it a primary offense to type out text messages while driving
And the measure also bans all cell phone use for licensed drivers under 18, allowing police to stop those younger drivers even if they’re using a headset.
The definition of texting under the bill includes reading, writing or sending text messages. There are exceptions for emergencies in both the adult and under-18 provisions.
The proposed legislation is Senate Bill 6345.