Because of the dangers of distracted driving, law enforcement agencies are putting extra officers on the roads until April 14 to watch for drivers on their cellphones.
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission said the additional patrols are part of a national campaign and its own Target Zero goal to eliminate traffic-related deaths in the state by 2030.
Officers will be looking for all distracted driving violations, though using a cellphone is the most frequent and most dangerous.
“Cellphones distract drivers differently than eating a hamburger or putting on make-up,” said Angie Ward, the commission’s program manager.
“Holding a phone in your hand takes your hand off the wheel. Reading or entering data into your phone takes your eyes off the road. The biggest problem is that it takes your mind away from the tasks of driving.”
One in 10 drivers and one-third of pedestrians are distracted by cellphone use, according to a study by Seattle-based Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.
Participating in the emphasis patrols are police from Bonney Lake, Fife, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Puyallup, Sumner, Tacoma and University Place, as well as the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Patrol.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653