Police begin distracted driving emphasis patrol

Police begin distracted driving emphasis patrol

SPOKANE, Wash. - Police across the Washington state are out in full force looking for distracted drivers and seatbelt violations with additional emphasis patrols.

The patrols, which started Monday, run through June 1 in Spokane, Whitman, Pend Oreille and Ferry counties.

It's a fairly simple concept: When you're behind the wheel, your eyes should be on the road and no where else. But the last time Washington cops cracked down on distracted driving they handed out more than 2,500 tickets in just five days, so they're sending the message again, put the phone down or pay the price.

Distracted driving is more than just talking or texting on your cell phone.

"Anything that distracts you in your cars and takes your attention away from your driving could be a ticketable offense," Spokane Police Officer Teresa Fuller said.

Those tickets start out at $124.  If you're charged with aggressive or negligent driving because of your distraction you could pay as much as $550 or more.

"We really want you to pay attention to your driving. It's construction season we have crews on the road everywhere. People are out on their motorcycles, bicycles, pedestrians, so we all need to work together to keep everybody safe," Fuller said.

If you chose not to wear a seatbelt, this is the time of year you probably won't get a warning. Officers will also be looking at how you and your passengers are strapped in. Children under thirteen must be in the back seat. For adults, the shoulder strap should be placed on your clavicle not behind your back or under your arm.

"We've talked to adults that have received serious injuries from wearing the shoulder belt underneath their armpit, injuries that took seven or eight years to recover from," Fuller said.

This is all part of the Target Zero Campaign, an effort to reduce highway fatalities to zero in Washington state by the year 2030.