New 'E-DUI' law would allow police to pull you over for holding electronic device in Washington state

A new law went into effect Sunday in Washington state that prohibits drivers from holding electronic devices – including phones, tablets and other electronic gadgets – while behind the wheel.

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That means no reading incoming text messages while driving, or watching a quick video while sitting at a red light.

The Electronics DUI offense, prohibits people from holding any electronic device in their hand while driving, stopped in traffic or stopped at a light. 

Officers who see drivers holding an electronic device in their hand will be able to pull the driver over as a primary offense. 

A driver is allowed to hold their phone to contact emergency services or if they are parked or pulled over and safely stopped out of the way of traffic. 

People caught holding a personal electronic device while driving or on the road will be fined $136. If a driver receives a second E-DUI ticket within five years, the fine will be $234.

Under the measure, “the minimal use of a finger” to activate, deactivate or initiate a function of a personal electronic device while driving will still be allowed.

Answers to common questions about this new law can be found here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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