46.61.670  <<  46.61.672 >>   46.61.673

RCW 46.61.672

Using a personal electronic device while driving.

(1) A person who uses a personal electronic device while driving a motor vehicle on a public highway is guilty of a traffic infraction and must pay a fine as provided in RCW 46.63.110(3).
(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to:
(a) A driver who is using a personal electronic device to contact emergency services;
(b) The use of a system by a transit system employee for time-sensitive relay communication between the transit system employee and the transit system's dispatch services;
(c) An individual employed as a commercial motor vehicle driver who uses a personal electronic device within the scope of such individual's employment if such use is permitted under 49 U.S.C. Sec. 31136 as it existed on July 23, 2017; and
(d) A person operating an authorized emergency vehicle.
(3) The state preempts the field of regulating the use of personal electronic devices in motor vehicles while driving, and this section supersedes any local laws, ordinances, orders, rules, or regulations enacted by any political subdivision or municipality to regulate the use of a personal electronic device by the operator of a motor vehicle.
(4) A second or subsequent offense under this section is subject to two times the penalty amount under RCW 46.63.110.
(5) For purposes of this section:
(a) "Driving" means to operate a motor vehicle on a public highway, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays. "Driving" does not include when the vehicle has pulled over to the side of, or off of, an active roadway and has stopped in a location where it can safely remain stationary.
(b) "Personal electronic device" means any portable electronic device that is capable of wireless communication or electronic data retrieval and is not manufactured primarily for hands-free use in a motor vehicle. "Personal electronic device" includes, but is not limited to, a cell phone, tablet, laptop, two-way messaging device, or electronic game. "Personal electronic device" does not include two-way radio, citizens band radio, or amateur radio equipment.
(c) "Use" or "uses" means:
(i) Holding a personal electronic device in either hand or both hands;
(ii) Using your hand or finger to compose, send, read, view, access, browse, transmit, save, or retrieve email, text messages, instant messages, photographs, or other electronic data; however, this does not preclude the minimal use of a finger to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the device;
(iii) Watching video on a personal electronic device.
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