Washington state reportedly could get more federal money to enforce its texting while driving law, if its willing to increase fines for repeat offenders.
The penalty for getting caught texting or holding your cell phone to your ear while driving is $124. Whether it’s the first time you’re caught, the fifth time or the 10th time, it’s $124.
The News Tribune reports that Washington already qualifies for a share of the $5.6 million handed out to states with texting laws in order to help enforce those laws. Washington state could get $300,000 of that.
But there’s potentially another $11.9 million for 2013 and $18.1 million for 2014 to divvy up among states that increase fines for repeat offenders.
State lawmakers are reportedly considering the idea.
Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Des Moines, said the Washington State Patrol alone handed out 728 tickets, 11 written warnings, and 835 verbal warnings to drivers caught texting while driving.
Read more at The News Tribune
Correction: The number of citations to drivers caught texting behind the wheel was much smaller than originally reported in this story. The previous numbers included citations for drivers caught talking on wireless phones.