Emphasis Patrols target distracted drivers start Friday in Whatcom County

Mar 9, 2023, 1:51 PM
police lights distracted drivers shooting...
(Courtesy of Nick Papantonis via KIRO 7 News)
(Courtesy of Nick Papantonis via KIRO 7 News)

Starting Friday morning, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department and Bellingham Police will be looking for distracted drivers — specifically drivers on their phones.

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In the state of Washington, it is against the law to hold a cell phone while driving. A driver can only use a cell phone if they are if the driver is hands-free and can start by a single touch or swipe, or parked and out-of-the-flow of traffic. This does not include being stopped at a light or stuck in a back-up.

This includes all personal devices like laptops, tablets, music players, and gaming accessories.

“90% of drivers avoid distracted driving,” The Washington Traffic Safety Commission stated. “We need 100% of Washington drivers to stay focused.”

Emphasis Patrols will focus primarily in North Bellingham.

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A ticket will cost drivers $136. If a driver is caught again within five years, it shoots up to $234 dollars. All infractions are reported to the driver’s insurance agency.

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Emphasis Patrols target distracted drivers start Friday in Whatcom County