The new Washington E-DUI Law goes into place on Sunday (July 23) in an effort to stop distracted driving in the state. What a lot of Washington state residents may not realize is just how much is now going to be against the law while driving a vehicle. Drivers can now get tickets for smoking, eating, putting on makeup, and for even holding a cell phone behind the wheel.

KIRO 7 News noted that the reason for the increased level of punishments for distracted drivers comes from an accident in 2015. A distracted driver hit and killed someone who was working as a flagger at a construction site.

It led his mother (Tina Meyer) to become an advocate against distracted driving and she worked with governor Jay Inslee to come up with a new policy that is about to become the state law. Incidents have also taken place in Jacksonville that could have played into this final decision.

What is against the law in this new Washington E-DUI policy?

The primary focus of the new Washington E-DUI Law is to get drivers to put down their cell phones. $136 tickets will be handed out to any driver holding a cell phone at any time while they are driving. This includes being at a stoplight, forcing drivers to pay complete attention to what is going on around them. The only exception to the new law is if someone is calling 9-1-1 in an emergency.

There has been a lot of backlash from drivers and Washington state residents who feel that the new Washington E-DUI law is going too far toward making it a “police state.” There isn’t a lot of interpretation of the law either, as police can now pull over any driver that they witnessed holding a cell phone. There was a trial period where police officers were warning drivers, but that comes to an end over the weekend.

What else can get a driver a ticket under Washington E-DUI law?

The primary focus of this new E-DUI law is to ticket drivers who are holding cell phones. The first ticket is $136 and a second ticket within five years will cost $234. Tickets can also be given out to people who are seen smoking, eating, reading, and/or grooming if the police officer feels that it interferes with being a safe driver.

This is where a lot of “opinion” comes into play for the officers.

To get a ticket for these other offenses, police officers have to witness a primary traffic offense first. Meaning they need to see an illegal lane change, a driver not coming to a full-stop at a stop sign, or someone running a light in order to then ticket them $99 for the other offenses. The new Washington E-DUI law is also expected to bring the state a lot of additional revenue but has it gone too far?