Drivers who continue to text, or chat on phones without hands-free devices, will face a stiff fine starting June 10.
The Washington State Patrol reports it will not offer an educational "grace period" to allow drivers time to get used to the new law. For the last two years, drivers have already faced consequences for texting or talking on a cell phone while driving as a secondary offense. That means if a drivers had other infractions, and were found to have been texting or talking, they would have faced two fines.
The new law will make it a primary offense to check or send texts or talk on a cell phone without a hands-free device, with a $124 fine attached.
Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste said in a statement Washington state drivers have had plenty of time to get used to the new rules.
"Drivers have already had nearly two years to adjust their driving habits," Batiste said. "We will fully enforce this law from day one."
Batiste said he was disappointed that the previous laws didn't win more voluntary compliance. In some cases there was outright defiance, the agency reports.
"They would look right at our troopers with phones held to their ears," Batiste said. "They knew that without another violation we couldn't do anything."