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Police begin enforcing Washington’s E-DUI distracted driving law

Police in Washington state have begun enforcing the new distracted driving law following the end of a six-month grace period.

"2018 is here and so ends the grace period for the enhanced distracted driving law that was passed into law last year."

The law means drivers may not use hand-held cell phones while driving, stopped in traffic or at a stop light. This includes tablets, laptops, games or other hand-held electronic devices. Drivers cannot watch movies while driving. Hands-free use is limited to a single touch or swipe.

Law enforcement agencies suggest plugging in routes on a phone and starting music before driving.

Drivers caught with a cellphone in hand will be issued a $136 ticket. The fine increases to $234 if a driver is caught a second time.

Violations will be available to insurance companies.

The new law was enacted by state lawmakers last year, and it was initially set to take effect in 2019.

Gov. Jay Inslee pushed for the law to take effect in July 2017, but instructed law enforcement agencies to give drivers a six-month grace period in order to adapt to the new law.

Washington State Patrol says nearly 7,000 warnings were issued to drivers during the grace period.

Washington’s new E-DUI law takes effect