Clearing Up WA's Cell Phone Law Confusion

Clearing Up WA's Cell Phone Law Confusion
YAKIMA -- Nearly a year after it became a law, the new rules on cell phones while driving are still confusing people.

Even Action News helped add to the confusion. We told you it was okay to use your phone if it was on speaker and away from your ear. We learned that's not okay.

It's the first five bullet points in the RCW that make it confusing.

An RCW is a law and those bullet points say, "A person operating a moving motor vehicle while holding a wireless communications device to his or her ear is guilty of a traffic infraction."

So, that means as long as it's not against your ear it’s legal, right? Wrong. Where in the law does it say this? The key is that further down in the RCW, it explains the intent.

It reads, "It is the legislature's intent to phase out the use of hand-held wireless communication devices by motorist while operating a vehicle."

After asking city police, sheriff's deputies and state troopers they all looked into it and agreed this reads that a phone in your hand while driving is illegal in Washington.

People we stopped on the street were mixed on knowing the law.

Plenty said they don't set the phone down because they can't hear the speaker, and Bluetooth headsets are too pricey. Drivers said instead they’ll choose to ignore calls.

That's exactly what police want you to do.

Action News found you can get a Bluetooth for around $20, or if you have a port for your car we found cords to connect your phone for just a few bucks. Wired earbuds are also just a few dollars.

Police are exempt from this law. It's legal for police to hold their phones while driving.