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.
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.