You’ve probably read more stories about the new “driving while talking/texting” law than you care to. Well there’s been an interesting turn of events. It’s still a primary offense to talk (or text) while driving (don’t get your hopes up), but if you received a ticket for it you might have a refund coming back to you.
The reason is because the the Model Traffic Ordinance (MTO) has not been updated (since 2004) with the new laws that have been passed. What this means is that some cities like Bremerton, MountLake Terrance, and Monroe are not able to enforce this law because it hasn’t been updated in their laws via the MTO.
This does not affect cities such as Seattle, Bellevue, and Tacoma because they have passed their own laws regarding cell phone use and distracted driving. Also if you’ve received a ticket from a Washington State Patrol officer it is NOT invalid as they are approved to enforce this law.
As a Seattle personal injury lawyer I feel this law will do a lot of good to help drivers think twice before driving distracted by their cell phones. It’s honorable that cities, like Bremerton, are refunding the money (as far back as 2008) they’ve collected for these tickets that were invalid. Let’s hope that everything gets sorted out with the least amount of hassle and that this new law helps to reduce car accidents in Washington.