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Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in Washington

cell phone washington

Washington defines distracted driving as taking attention away from the road or paying attention to something other than driving. Texting while driving is illegal for drivers of all ages in Washington. Furthermore, using handheld cell phones is illegal for drivers of all ages as well. There are a few exceptions these laws.


  • Texting and driving is illegal
  • Using a handheld cell phone is illegal

Exceptions to cell phone law

  • Operating a tow truck and responding to a disabled vehicle
  • Operating an emergency vehicle
  • Using a hands free device
  • Calling for emergency or medical help
  • Reporting illegal activity
  • Using the phone to prevent injury to person or property
  • Using a hearing aid

Exceptions to texting law

  • Operating an emergency vehicle
  • Relaying information to an operator or dispatch
  • Preventing injury to a person or property
  • Reporting illegal activity

A law enforcement officer may pull a driver over for violating any of the laws above without having witnessed the driver committing any other moving violations as this is considered a primary law in Washington.


  • $124

Texting while driving is illegal in Washington as is the use of handheld cell phones. It is best to invest in a speaker phone, Bluetooth, or wired headset if phone calls need to be made while driving down the road. Furthermore, drivers are encourage to pull over and come to a stop if they do need to make a phone call.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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