Washington [VIDEO]drivers are now prohibited from holding their cell phones while driving. With the new law taking effect, holding, texting and calling while driving is already punishable. However, a "minimal touch" of the cellular phones to deactivate or activate while driving is still allowed. Holding the phone to your ear is prohibited as well and only voice-activated devices and hands-free phones are the only allowed to use.The new anti-distracting law is part of the state’s fight against traffic fatalities, which are increasingly linked to "distracted driving". Legislators of the new law say "it will save lives."

What to expect from the new law.

The new distracted-driving law took effect last Sunday and aims to mitigate the rising number of cases of car accidents due to distractions while driving.

According to the statistics released by The National Safety Council, cellular phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes every year. One out of four car accidents in the United States is caused by using phones while driving.

For about 6 months of a grace period, the Washington State will provide seminars and discussion about the content of the new law. However, the Sherrif of King County said that law will start handing its citations immediately

Under the new law, using an electronic device to contact emergency services is exempted. Using amateur radio equipment or band radio services is exempted as well. A secondary offense is also charged to drivers who eat or smoke while driving.

According to the spokeswoman of the Traffic commission, Erica Mascorro said, that using a mobile phone while stopped at an intersection or traffic light is treated also a violation of the new law.

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According to her, it is still dangerous even if the car is not moving.

Penalties imposed to violators

According to the new law, drivers are advised to pull off the road and stop their vehicles if needed to use their mobile devices. Violators of this law are penalized with $136 fine in their first offense. A second offense within five years is fine with $234. Drivers who are caught with secondary offenses like smoking, eating or ready will be penalized also and will receive a secondary fine of $99.

According to study, approximately 660,000 drivers are attempting to grab their phones while driving. Although smartphones have made our lives easy, they still pose serious safety risks if someone decides to phone call, text messages, send emails or any other mobile activities while driving.