New Distracted Driving Law in Washington State

Distracted Driving Washington State's New Law

A new law went into effect this week that defines grooming, eating, and even just holding a phone as distracted driving.

This is a big change, and an important one, distracted driving has been shown by several studies to be as impairing as a DUI. Driving a motor vehicle of any size is big responsibility. The safety of your passengers and the public are your responsibility.

Distracted Driving Washington State's New Law
It’s time to hang up and drive or hand the phone to the passenger.

The Washington State Patrol explained the difference between the infractions and what you can be pulled over for:

A primary offense is where a law enforcement officer can pull over your vehicle and issue a citation. In this case, you can be pulled over for watching videos, texting, calling, basically anytime a phone is in your hand (even when stopped in traffic or at a traffic light). If you’re caught, a citation will not only cost you at least $136 but can also be reported to your insurance provider.

A secondary offense means that a law can only be enforced when a primary offense has also occurred. Some examples of secondary offenses are:

  • Smoking
  • Taking a drink of coffee or water
  • Grooming

New Distracted Driving Law: Primary vs. Secondary Offenses

Primary offenses could potentially be another traffic infraction, not necessarily one of the primary Distracted Driving offenses. So it is possible you could be pulled over for speeding and get a Distracted Driving infraction added on.

Also from WSP:

To sum it up: Don’t do anything distracting while driving. Fatalities from distracted driving increased 32% from 2014 to 2015 in Washington. Not to mention one out of four collisions involve cell phone use just prior to the crash. Put the phone down and be safe out on the roads.

Shocking statistics, and so very unecessary.

This is a serious issue, we aren’t just a law firm, we are also a family and the safety of everyone’s loved ones is worth waiting for a phone call.

There is a six-month grace period where WSP is going explain the new law and not write infractions. If you are cited for Distracted Driving contact our office here.

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Andy Lingle, Acquitted

Andy Lingle, Acquitted - The Law Offices of Joseph Schodowski

I was proud to represent Andy Lingle in his case and equally proud of the verdict for my client. We feel that there was never sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Lingle despite being a pillar in the community.

We are still fighting these spurious charges from the Jefferson County Prosecutors Office, and we are confident that we will prevail if they push their weak case against Mr. Lingle who was already found innocent of six charges brought against him.

Andy Lingle, Acquitted - The Law Offices of Joseph Schodowski

“I said [the complainant] had lied to the officer, lied to the court and lied to the jury,” he said. “I think Apeland’s investigation was shoddy. He never canvassed the neighborhood or talked to neighbors. He never took pictures of the scene to show any signs of a struggle. He wasn’t able to follow up with [the complainant] until eight days after [Mr. Lingle’s arrest]. I think the charges were baseless.”

Schodowski said the jury only took as long as it did because of a hangup over a charge that Lingle violated a no-contact order.

“Back in October I presented Ms. Trejo with irrefutable evidence that a phone call that gave rise to the no-contact charge never occurred,” Schodowski said. “For whatever reason, she never dismissed the charge, which in the end I think helped us. We were able to show Mr. Lingle’s certified phone records showing that he never called. The state had these phone records. I think that was a big issue for the jury. Not only did she make a false report when she reported this crime, she got on the stand and under oath testified falsely.”
Andy Lingle Acquitted, Port Townsend Leader December 23, 2015

There is currently an appeal in progress and we will represent Mr. Lingle at court again and we expect the same verdict returned. This is amounting to little more than a waste of public resources on an innocent man. No one should be found guilty with such thin evidence on such a poorly conducted investigation.