“U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” distracted driver emphasis patrols underway in Washington

For the second year in a row, more than 100 law enforcement agencies in Washington State will be cracking down on distracted drivers as part of the national distracted driving campaign.

Between April 1 and April 15, officers will target motorists who are seen talking on handheld cell phones and sending text messages.

“U Drive. U Text. U Pay” is a campaign supported by the family of a student who died near Colfax while texting and driving.

Sam Thompson, 20, died September 12, 2014 after crossing the center line while texting and driving northbound on Highway 195 and colliding head-on with a semi-truck.

Sam’s parents, Jim and Lisa Thompson will unveil a sign to be erected this spring at the site near Colfax where Sam died. The sign and the extra statewide patrols will be in honor of Sam.

These patrols and all extra patrols are part of Target Zero, which is a campaign striving to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030.

 

Driver distraction is a leading factor in many crashes, and cell phone use and texting are two of the most common distractions. Many states and local jurisdictions are passing laws that address these behaviors.GHSA’s message to all drivers remains: don’t use cell phones or other electronic devices while driving, regardless of the current law.

GHSA recommends states ban hand-held cell phone use for all drivers. While texting and hand-held bans are both critical, texting bans by themselves can be difficult to enforce. In states with texting but not hand-held bans, a driver may claim they were dialing a phone number when stopped by a police officer. Enforcement demonstration projects in New York, Connecticut, Delaware and California have shown that hand-held cell phone bans can be enforced effectively and can reduce driver use of a cell phone. See below for the specific policy language.

The It Can Wait® Campaign

GHSA supports the It Can Wait campaign. Spearheaded by AT&T, the goal of the campaign is to save lives by calling on the public, law enforcement, educators, corporations, consumer safety groups and legislators to help find solutions to prevent the dangers of texting and driving. Learn More

Research

In 2011, GHSA released Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do. The report summarizes what distracted driving is, how often drivers are distracted, how distraction impacts driver performance and what countermeasures may be most effective as well as what states can do to reduce distracted driving.

Among the findings:

  • Distractions affect driving performance.
  • Drivers frequently are distracted, perhaps as much as half the time.
  • Distractions are estimated to be associated with 15 to 25 percent of crashes at all levels.
  • Texting likely increases crash risk more than cell phone use.

Based on the existing research, the report urges states to:

  • Use low-cost engineering solutions such as edgeline and centerline rumble stripes to alert motorists who may drift.
  • Record distracted driving in crash reports.
  • Evaluate other distracted driving laws and programs.

In 2009, GHSA joined a coalition of safety and transportation groups in writing letters to key members of the U.S. House pdf icon [46 KB, 3 pgs.] and Senate pdf icon [47 KB, 3 pgs.] advocating a broad approach to distracted driving and supporting a strong federal role.

Emphasis patrols in Grays Harbor County net 26 arrests for DUI

DUI continues to be the number one factor in traffic fatalities and serious injury statewide as well as here in Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties. In an effort to save lives, local law enforcement agencies participated in a statewide effort over the Fourth of July weekend to crackdown on impaired drivers. During that time period 26 impaired drivers were arrested in Grays Harbor County.

Overtime patrols funded by the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission were conducted border to border throughout Washington State. Locally, the patrols were coordinated by Grays Harbor County Target Zero Task Force and were conducted throughout Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties. Agencies included: Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department, Pacific County Sheriff’s Department, Montesano, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Ocean Shores, Cosmopolis, Elma, McCleary, Raymond, South Bend Police Department (s), as well as the Washington State Patrol.

Target Zero, which is a statewide effort to prevent all traffic deaths in Washington by the year 2030.

‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ in Washington this Fourth of July Holiday

Americans love to celebrate the Fourth of July with family, friends, food and fireworks, but too often alcohol turns the party into a tragedy, making this iconic holiday one of the most deadly days of the year on the nation’s roads.

That’s why this June and July Thurston, Gray’s Harbor, Cowlitz, and Lewis Counties are stepping up police presence throughout the entire southwest Washington region as part of the “DUI Summer Kick-Off”enforcement crackdown to catch and arrest impaired drivers who put themselves and others at risk.

“Local police will be out in force throughout this Independence Day, on the lookout for motorists who have had too much alcohol to be behind the wheel of a vehicle,” said Grays Harbor County’s Target Zero Manager Susan Bradbury.  “Police will have zero tolerance for drivers who drink and drive this July 4th, putting themselves and everyone else on our roads at risk of life and limb.”

While death and injury are of course the most serious of possible consequences of drunk driving, there are other negative considerations that can affect lives for many years, including loss of a driver licenses, vehicle impound, jail time, lawyer fees, court costs, insurance hikes, just to name a few.

Be safe while you’re having fun this summer.  If you’re impaired, use a taxi or call a sober friend or family member. And if you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local police.

More than just Unbuckled and Distracted Drivers cited during recent emphasis patrols

Between May 19 and June 1 extra law enforcement patrolled Grays Harbor County roads looking for unbuckled drivers and passengers, and cell phone using texters and talkers.

During these patrols, 61 seatbelt infractions were written, in addition to 64 cell phone/texting tickets. Last year, in Grays Harbor County, during this same time period, officers on extra patrols wrote 69 seat belt infractions and 101 cell phone violations.

In addition, three felony warrant arrests, 45 speeding violations, five child passenger safety infractions as well as 41 uninsured motorists and nine suspended/revoked license violations were issued this year.

Last year, during the same time period, officers on extra patrols statewide issued 2,963 seat belt violations amongst the 11,666 motorists who were stopped and 1,897 cell phone and texting violations were written.

In Grays Harbor County, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office, the Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, Elma, Hoquiam, Montesano and Ocean Shores Police Departments, Grays Harbor Communications, as well as the Washington State Patrol worked the extra patrols, with the support of the Grays Harbor Target Zero Traffic Safety Task Force and a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

These and all extra patrols are part of Target Zero—striving to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030. For more information, visit www.targetzero.com. Additional information on the Washington Traffic Safety Commission can be found on the website, www.wtsc.wa.gov.

Just a drill at Aberdeen High School today, “Every 32 Minutes”

ABERDEEN, Wash. – Emergency responders are all over Aberdeen High School today, some students are being medically evacuated, others’ bodies pulled from a wrecked car, others will be pronounced dead.  Others will read the obituaries of their best friends over the PA system, it’s all part of the “Every 32 Minutes” program taking place at the school today.
Susan Bradbury with the Grays Harbor “Target Zero” Traffic Safety Task Force tells KBKW “Every 32 minutes someone in the US is killed by an impaired driver. Today Aberdeen students will hear a dispatch report of a collision every 32 minutes over their PA system. A Grim Reaper will visit classrooms and pick out “victims,” who will will not interact with other students for the rest of the day. Students will also see a mock car crash with full paramedic response, as well as an investigation and arrest for driving while under the influence.

The event is presented by Grays Harbor’s Target Zero Traffic Safety Task Force, Local police, and area schools. Bradbury tells us this will be the fifth year for this successful program on the harbor.Every 32 Minutes AHS 2012

Back by popular demand: extra patrols out in search of unbuckled and distracted drivers

On the heels of the first-ever statewide distracted driving extra enforcement campaign, law enforcement officers will be out once again searching for not only unbuckled drivers but distracted drivers as part of the annual “Click it or Ticket” patrols.

In Grays Harbor County, during the recent distracted driving campaign which took place between April 10th and 15th, 47 cell phone and texting violations were written.

The “Handheld Cell Phone Use” law became a primary law in Washington in June 2010.  Prior to that law taking effect, on average, 700 drivers were cited for cell phone use per month statewide. After the law went into effect, the number of motorists cited for cell phone use increased and has stayed consistent at approximately 4,000 per month. This is without funding for extra enforcement!

Likewise, after the primary seat belt law took effect in June 2002 seat belt violations initially increased and then the seat belt use rate increased. This model of high visibility enforcement has proven to change behaviors and is now being applied to distracted driving. Texting and cell phone usage is aggravating to so many motorists and it remains a growing public health and traffic safety issue.

That is why between May 19 and June 1, motorists in Grays Harbor County can expect to see extra seat belt AND distracted driving patrols.

Last year, during this same time period, officers on extra patrols statewide issued 2,963 seat belt violations amongst the 11,666 motorists who were stopped.

Also last year during this time period, 1,897 cell phone and texting violations were written.  However, taking a historical look, in 2010, (when the primary law went into effect) only 63 drivers were cited statewide at this time.

In Grays Harbor County, the Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, Elma, Hoquiam, Montesano and Ocean Shores Police Departments, Grays Harbor Communications, as well as the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol will be teaming up and participating in these extra patrols, with the support of the Grays Harbor Target Zero Traffic Safety Task Force.

These and all extra patrols are part of Target Zero—striving to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030. For more information, visit www.targetzero.com. Additional information on the Washington Traffic Safety Commission can be found on the website, www.wtsc.wa.gov.

Washington to participate in first ever nationwide distracted driving crackdown

National enforcement campaign taking place during Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Law enforcement officers in Washington State will be cracking down on distracted drivers as part of a new national distracted driving enforcement campaign this month.

Between April 10 and April 15, the high visibility enforcement efforts will target motorists who are observed driving distracted — talking on hand-held cell phones, sending text messages, and otherwise not paying attention to the road while driving.

The Target Zero Teams first rolled out in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties in July 2010, as a demonstration project with the goal to reduce fatal and serious injury collisions caused by impaired drivers. After completing the original two year project, it’s estimated more than 100 lives were saved because of the teams. In 2012, the Washington Legislature fully funded the Target Zero Teams to continue their work in the King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
The Target Zero Teams first rolled out in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties in July 2010, as a demonstration project with the goal to reduce fatal and serious injury collisions caused by impaired drivers. After completing the original two year project, it’s estimated more than 100 lives were saved because of the teams. In 2012, the Washington Legislature fully funded the Target Zero Teams to continue their work in the King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

In 2013, researchers at UW Medicine’s Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center conducted a study of drivers in Washington. They found that nearly one in ten drivers was observed using a cell phone or texting behind the wheel. Among those driving distracted, nearly half (47 percent) were texting.

“We hear from citizens on a regular basis that they want stricter enforcement of distracted driving laws,” said Washington Traffic Safety Commission Director, Darrin Grondel. “This effort gives us the chance to provide funding to more than 100 law enforcement agencies throughout Washington to do just that.”

 

The slogan of the national campaign is “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” and is being carried out during the month of April, which is National Distracted Driving Month. This effort is modeled after similar successful high visibility enforcement campaigns such as “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

These and all extra patrols are part of Target Zero—striving to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030. For more information, visit www.targetzero.com. Additional information on the Washington Traffic Safety Commission can be found on the website, www.wtsc.wa.gov.

Results of recent Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign in Grays Harbor released

GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY, WA – The results are in from the recent Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DUI enforcement campaign conducted from November 27, 2013 through January 1, 2014.

In Grays Harbor County, 36 motorists were stopped and arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), and statewide, law enforcement officers arrested 2723 drivers for DUI.

Last year in Grays Harbor County, during the same time period, officers on routine and extra patrols arrested 41 people for DUI.

In Grays Harbor County, the Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, Elma, Hoquiam, Montesano, and Ocean Shores Police Departments, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Patrol participated in the extra DUI patrols, with the support of Grays Harbor Target Zero Traffic Safety Task Force. The extra patrols were funded by a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

The holiday season is an important time for these patrols, given the number of holiday festivities that often involve alcohol.

These and all extra patrols are part of Target Zero—striving to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030. For more information, visit www.targetzero.com. Additional information on the Washington Traffic Safety Commission can be found on the website, www.wtsc.wa.gov.

Grays Harbor County Sees Record Low in Traffic Accidents for 2013

Traffic accidents on County roads in Grays Harbor were at a record low last year, according to preliminary data released by the County.

There were 99 reported traffic accidents on County roads during the past year with no deaths, as compared with 109 accidents and three (3) deaths the previous year (2012).

Traffic accidents have declined 70% from a modern day record high of 343 accidents in 1976 to the record low of 99 accidents in 2013.

The reduction in accidents is the result of educational programs that have made people better drivers, DUI laws and more enforcement, improved vehicles and roads.

Injury accidents have declined 85% from 240 in 1976 to 37 reported last year. Seatbelt usage has been the major factor in this reduction, along with airbags and other improvements to vehicles.

The traffic accident rate per mile driven was 4½ times greater in 1976 as compared to 2013.

Accidents involving alcohol/drugs, speeding, granting right of way and driving over centerline have decreased significantly whereas accidents involving inattention, weather and defective equipment have not changed significantly in the past 20 years.

These state programs and legislation are an important part of this decline:

1971 Habitual Traffic Offender Law
1984 Mandatory Child Restraint law for Children Less than Age One
1986 Mandatory Seat Belt Law
1989 DUI youth Lose License for 90 Days or Until Age 19
1990 Mandatory Insurance Required
1993 Enforcement of Pedestrian Crosswalk Law
1995 Law Enforcement Authorized to Take Blood of DUI Suspect
1998 Drivers Arrested with BAC of 0.08 or Above
2000 Graduated Driver Licenses Law for Teens, Booster Seat Law, Target Zero Program
2001 Intermediate Drivers License Guidelines
2002 Click It or Ticket Program
2006 Impaired Driving Program, Night Time Seat Belt Enforcement Program
2007 Occupant Protection Program, Speeding Program “Slow Down or Pay Up”

Even though the Federal Target Zero Program seems unrealistic, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff Department is committed to reducing accidents and saving lives through education, awareness and enforcement programs.

Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over patrols running through New Year

 

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission recently asked people what the goal should be for the number of traffic deaths in Washington. Everyone indicated they would like to see fewer people killed. But when asked what the goal should be for their family members, everyone responded, “zero.” (Well, almost everyone. Visit www.WAdrivetozero.com to see what residents think about zero traffic deaths).

To reach zero traffic deaths takes effort from everyone. Please join law enforcement in working toward zero traffic deaths. Make sure all the people at your Thanksgiving table are also around to celebrate the New Year. Visit www.WAdrivetozero.com to review important safety tips, such as:

*Call 911 if you see a suspected DUI driver on the roads.

*If you drink, use marijuana, or take other drugs, don’t drive. Make plans before-hand for how you’ll get around.

*If you are hosting a party, make sure your guests get home safely! Plan to have sober designated drivers available. Buy a few extra air mattresses so guests can stay the night. If it’s an office party, limit alcohol, provide shuttle service or book hotel rooms. Remember, as a party host, you are liable for the actions of the people who leave your party intoxicated.

*Talk with your children about alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. Help them understand the ways alcohol and marijuana use can harm their bodies, their brains, and their future. Let them know that they can call you instead of ever getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking, using marijuana or taking drugs. WEBSITE: Start Talking Now

*Give the best gift of all at the Holiday Season with the Designated Driver Gift Card.

*Addiction is a complex issue. If you or someone you know is dealing with alcohol, marijuana or drug abuse, call or check ONLINE- the Washington Recovery Help Line at 1 (866) 789-1511.

November 22, 2013/Washington Traffic Safety Commission News Release