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46.61.665  <<  46.61.667 >>   46.61.668

RCW 46.61.667

Using a wireless communications device or hand-held mobile telephone while driving.

(1)(a) Except as provided in subsections (2)(a) and (3)(a) of this section, a person operating a moving motor vehicle while holding a wireless communications device to his or her ear is guilty of a traffic infraction.

     (b) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b) and (3)(b) of this section, a person driving a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in RCW 46.25.010, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays, while using a hand-held mobile telephone is guilty of a traffic infraction. For purposes of this subsection, "driving" does not include operating a commercial motor vehicle with or without the motor running when the driver has moved the vehicle to the side of, or off, a highway and has stopped in a location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.

     (2)(a) Subsection (1)(a) of this section does not apply to a person operating:

     (i) An authorized emergency vehicle, or a tow truck responding to a disabled vehicle;

     (ii) A moving motor vehicle using a wireless communications device in hands-free mode;

     (iii) A moving motor vehicle using a hand-held wireless communications device to:

     (A) Report illegal activity;

     (B) Summon medical or other emergency help;

     (C) Prevent injury to a person or property; or

     (D) Relay information that is time sensitive between a transit or for-hire operator and that operator's dispatcher, in which the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle; or

     (iv) A moving motor vehicle while using a hearing aid.

     (b) Subsection (1)(b) of this section does not apply to a person operating a commercial motor vehicle:

     (i) When necessary to communicate with law enforcement officials or other emergency services; or

     (ii) Using a mobile telephone in hands-free mode.

     (3)(a) Subsection (1)(a) of this section does not restrict the operation of an amateur radio station by a person who holds a valid amateur radio operator license issued by the federal communications commission.

     (b) Subsection (1)(b) of this section does not restrict the operation of two-way or citizens band radio services.

     (4) For purposes of this section, "hands-free mode" means the use of a wireless communications device with a speaker phone, headset, or earpiece.

     (5) The state preempts the field of regulating the use of wireless communications devices in motor vehicles, and this section supersedes any local laws, ordinances, orders, rules, or regulations enacted by a political subdivision or municipality to regulate the use of wireless communications devices by the operator of a motor vehicle.

     (6) Infractions that result from the use of a wireless communications device while operating a motor vehicle under subsection (1)(a) of this section shall not become part of the driver's record under RCW 46.52.101 and 46.52.120. Additionally, a finding that a person has committed a traffic infraction under subsection (1)(a) of this section shall not be made available to insurance companies or employers.

[2013 c 224 § 15; 2010 c 223 § 3; 2007 c 417 § 2.]

Notes:

     Intent -- 2007 c 417: "The use of wireless communications devices by motorists has increased in recent years. While wireless communications devices have assisted with quick reporting of road emergencies, their use has also contributed to accidents and other mishaps on Washington state roadways. When motorists hold a wireless communications device in one hand and drive with the other, their chances of becoming involved in a traffic mishap increase. It is the legislature's intent to phase out the use of hand-held wireless communications devices by motorists while operating a vehicle." [2007 c 417 § 1.]

     Effective date -- 2007 c 417: "This act takes effect July 1, 2008." [2007 c 417 § 3.]