New cell phone law starts June 10 - No Grace Period! - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New cell phone law starts June 10 - No Grace Period!

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In less than a month, using a phone without a hands-free device will be a primary traffic offense. That includes texting and driving.

The Washington State Patrol says they will not offer a grace period when the new law goes into affect June 10th.

It is common for the state patrol to offer an educational grace period when a new law requires drivers to change long-standing behavior. However, WSP Chief, John Batiste, says that won't be the case this time. "Drivers have already had nearly two years to adjust their driving habits. We will fully enforce this law from day one."

Laws prohibiting texting and requiring hands-free devices took effect in 2008, but have just been secondary violations, meaning officers had to pull a driver over for another infraction first. A primary offenses means police can stop drivers for a texting or cell phone violation alone.

The requirements are intended to save lives and reduce injuries by eliminating these two major sources of driver distraction.

Since the laws went into effect in 2008, WSP has written approximately 3,000 tickets and given about 5,900 warnings. The patrol believes the number of collisions caused by inappropriate use of mobile devices is greatly under- reported.

The fine for a violation is $124.