Clearing up confusion over using speakerphone while driving - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Clearing up confusion over using speakerphone while driving

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KENNEWICK, Wash -- The new no talking, texting while driving law went into affect on June 10, 2010 and it has many people confused about using Speakerphone.

Sec. 3. RCW 46.61.667 and 2007 c 417 s 2 are each amended to read as follows: (1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) 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.
(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to a person
(b) A moving motor vehicle using a wireless communications device in hands-free mode
(4) For purposes of this section, "hands-free mode" means the use of a wireless communications device with a speaker phone, headset, or earpiece.

However the law does not define "handsfree."  The Office of Senator Tracey Edie's Office who wrote the legislation says every police department within every county in Washington can interpret the law as they chose to,  "39 counties can determine to interpret it 39 different ways if they so chose.. It is a gray area.."

Sgt. Ken Lattin with Kennewick Police says although its confusing, his department will not give tickets to those on Speakerphone, unless its to the driver's ear. "Although its not handsfree, its not to your ear. And so we've been trying to be very clear as far as when we issue cell phone tickets," says Lattin.

He says those ticketed using Speakerphone should take their ticket to court. "A law as its written is always up to interpretation, and as we move through this,  it is a learning process, and it will eventually make it through the courts.  There will be some redefine."

However, every police department, county and court system can have different interpretations of the same law.