Old Cell Phone Ban Falls on Deaf Ears

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Last updated April 12, 2019

The ban on using new or old cell phones while operating a motor vehicle in Washington State in the United States is now 12 months old, but is anyone actually listening?  Washington State Patrol officers say that a large percentage of drivers just do not seem to care, with many not even attempting to hide the fact they are using a cell phone while driving.  Indeed, the number of tickets for the violation – which costs the driver who is caught no less than $124 – actually seems to be increasing with time, rather than the other way around.  “I see people everyday who are driving with their cell phones to their ears,” says Teresa Fuller, a spokesperson for the traffic unit of the Spokane Police Department.
Nor does the law seem to be serving the purpose for which it was primarily created, to reduce the number of auto crashes, with statistics showing that that number has also increased since the cell phone driving ban was implemented one year ago, albeit only slightly.  Chris Tennant, the commander of the Pullman Police Department, admits that while the figures are not good, drivers are at least aware of the illegality of their actions.  “They know it’s illegal,” he says.  “I think that’s a good first step (but) trying to change behavior is a long process.”