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Things drivers still don’t know about Washington’s distracted driving law

There is still some confusion about what you're allowed – and not allowed – to do while behind the wheel under Washington's distracted driving law.
File photo From Getty ThinkStock

It’s been one year since the toughest distracted driving law in the country took effect in Washington. But some drivers are still confused about what they can – and can’t – do while behind the wheel, according to a survey of 900 King Country drivers.

One of the common misconceptions according to the King County Health Department is that drivers can text or use their phone at a stop light, or if they're stuck in traffic. Drivers can still receive a citation for texting or holding their phone for any reason while stopped in traffic. Calling 911 is the only exception to this rule.

Related: Distracted driving tops list of dangers on the road, survey says

Drivers can only make calls using a hands-free device or a speakerphone. The law says drivers can use a single touch, or swipe, to end a call.

A study showed it takes 27 seconds to refocus on the road after using your cell phone, the King County Health Department said.

Washington’s distracted driving law covers more than just texting or talking on the phone. Drivers can also receive a citation for other distracted driving practices like putting on makeup, flipping through radio stations, or eating.

The first distracted driving citation will cost drivers $136. The second ticket within five years will cost $234. A driver’s insurance company will also be notified.

Also see:

- Poll suggests Washington drivers are more cautious behind the wheel after "E-DUI" law

- ‘Put the phone down!’: 60 E-DUI tickets issued in 3 hours in Lake Forest Park

- Washington State Patrol sees drop in distracted driver collisions

- Over 6,000 drivers cited in first 6 months of distracted driving law

- Grace period ends for state's distracted driving law

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