Go ahead and drink that coffee while driving -- just don't hold a phone

SEATTLE -- A week into the state’s new distracted driving law we spotted many people still breaking the rules.

Drivers can’t help themselves.

Most understand that police can now cite drivers for simply holding a cell phone while driving.

But when it comes to food and other things, some are confused.

“I don’t think a lot of people have any idea,” Shelly Tilly said.



Drivers are asking if they can get pulled over for taking a sip of coffee behind the wheel.

The answer is no.

“We are not out there looking for people,” King County Sheriff John Urquhart said.

You can only get in trouble for drinking coffee, eating and doing makeup behind the wheel if you are driving badly while doing those things.

“If you are driving down the road and swerving over ... to the center line and drinking coffee you are going to get pulled over,” Urquhart said.

And those violations would be a secondary offense. And in those cases deputies will use their discretion when issuing tickets.

“By law, police officers have discretion, people cry their way out of tickets. Don’t offer us a doughnut -- that’s going to get you a ticket, probably,” Urquhart said.

All joking aside, the sheriff believes stricter rules will make it safer.

If officers catch you with a handheld-device while behind the wheel, it is a $136 ticket.

Under the new law, drivers also cannot watch a video even if it's mounted on the dash.

Officials say a finger touch of the phone is permitted, and you can use the phone only when you need to call 911.