Put down that cellphone

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No more excuses, public-safety officials say.

On the road, off the phone.

But would you actually be charged the $136 fine for violating Washington state’s new anti-distraction law, which takes effect Sunday?

That depends on where you drive.

The Washington State Patrol will ease into a six-month grace period, when troopers issue warnings and hand out educational cards.

“In the end, for us, it’s all about compliance. We want people to be safe on the road, we don’t want to issue tickets,” State Patrol spokesman Kyle Moore said.

Fined under Washington state's new anti-distracted driving law? Here’s where your money will go

Seattle police and Snohomish County deputies intend to similarly focus on education, then implement fines a few months from now.

On the other hand, the King County Sheriff’s Office, which patrols 13 cities and towns as well as county roads, will immediately treat electronic distraction like other violations. Deputies will use discretion to cite or warn, based on severity, a motorist’s record, or the person’s attitude.

Traffic Lab is a Seattle Times project that digs into the region’s thorny transportation issues, spotlights promising approaches to easing gridlock, and helps readers find the best ways to get around. It is funded with the help of community sponsors Alaska Airlines, CenturyLink, Kemper Development Co., Sabey Corp., Seattle Children’s hospital and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain editorial control over Traffic Lab content.

“Why wait six months, when sometimes the only message that will get through to people to change their behavior is to actually receive a citation?” said Sgt. Cindi West.

Redmond police are expected to issue fines immediately, without a grace period. Bellevue police will give warnings for two weeks before issuing fines, as prescribed by city traffic codes.

And be sure to put the phone away in Colfax, Whitman County — where generations of westsiders have been speed-trapped on the highway to Washington State University in Pullman.

Police write about 100 tickets a week, to tame as many as 10,000 vehicles some days passing through the to

Read more at The Seattle Times
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