Insurance premiums may be affected by E-DUI tickets in Washington

When Washington's new distracted driving law went into effect in July 2017 drivers were prohibited from holding any electronic device in their hand while driving, stopped in traffic or stopped at a light.

Following a six-month grace period during which the Washington State Patrol did not ticket drivers, WSP officers began issuing tickets to drivers holding an electronic device in their hand in January 2018.

In February, Washington State Patrol spokesman James Prouty told The Spokesman-Review that troopers in January made 1,677 E-DUI stops statewide and doled out 878 tickets. Click here to read more.

People caught holding a personal electronic device while driving or on the road are fined $136; if a driver receives a second E-DUI ticket within five years, the fine is $234.

But now, ticketed drivers could end up paying much more on their insurance premiums as some insurance companies say they are treating the new citation "about the same" as a standard DUI.

Tonight at 5:30, KIRO 7 is asking insurance providers how much your premiums could go up if you're cited for an E-DUI. Watch with us on-air or here

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There are two parts of the E-DUI law.

One Part, the Electronics DUI offense, prohibits people from holding any electronic device in their hand while driving,  stopped in traffic or stopped at a light. Officers who see drivers holding an electronic device in their hand will be able to pull the driver over as a primary offense. You are allowed to hold your phone to contact emergency services or if you are parked or pulled over and safely stopped out of the way of traffic. Troopers say the side of the freeway is not a good.

The second part refers to other activities that could cause distracted driving, such as, but not limited to, eating, smoking, reading or grooming. This is a secondary offense, meaning you must be pulled over for another offense, such as a dangerous lane change, to be cited for such an activity, and the activity interfered with safe driving.

This part of the law only applies if an officer catches a driver being distracted while committing a standard traffic offense, such as running a stop sign because their coffee spilled.