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Inslee signs distracted-driving law, which will take effect this year

Washington Governor Jay Inslee (Q13 News photo)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a measure that bans holding hand-held devices while driving.

The measure, signed by Inslee in Tacoma Tuesday, prohibits holding an electronic device — including phones, tablets and other electronic devices — while driving, including while in traffic or waiting for a traffic light to change.

Inslee vetoed a section that had the measure take effect in 2019. He said it was too important to wait for the provisions to become law. The law will now take effect in mid-July.

Under the measure, "the minimal use of a finger" to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of a personal electronic device while driving will still be allowed.

Current law in Washington state only prohibits texting or holding a phone to the ear while driving.