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Washington Senate votes to ban holding phones while driving

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A bill that bans holding an electronic device while driving has passed the Washington state Senate.

Senate Bill 5289 passed on a 36-13 vote Monday and now heads to the House for consideration.

Under the measure, drivers would not be allowed to hold a cellphone, tablet or other electronic devices in their hands while driving on a public roadway, including while being stopped in traffic. It would also double the fine for second and subsequent offenses within five years.

However, the bill would allow the use of a finger to activate or deactivate a function of a device, and the use of a built-in touch screen control panel within a vehicle to control basic functions like the radio or air conditioning.