Regional News

When it Comes to Texting and Driving, It Can Wait

Jun 27, 2016

From June 28 to June 30, 2016, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) is running extra patrol’s to crack down on distracted drivers. This is part of the statewide “Talk, Text, Ticket” campaign led by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

On July 1, 2008, Washington State made the use of hand-held wireless devices a primary traffic offense (RCW 46.61.667).                                                     

In Washington State, talking or sending text messages while holding a wireless device carries a minimum $136 fine.

Analysis of distracted driving research in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that “young drivers who text spend up to 400% more time with their eyes off the road than drivers who do not text, have 6-fold greater odds of a collision.”

According to the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL), a driver who is texting has an impairment level equal to a driver with a .16 blood-alcohol level. That’s double the legal limit. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drivers in their 20s make up 27% of distracted drivers in fatal crashes. 

“Young drivers are tempted to text or talk and drive but they bear the brunt of the negative consequences from their actions,” says WSP Chief John Batiste. “Plain and simple, taking your eyes off the road, even for a brief moment, puts you and other drivers at high risk for injury or death.”

In 2015, distracted driving accounted for 30% of the state’s fatal collisions. Troopers made over 22,000 contacts for use of a hand-held device while driving. 

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