In an effort to educate the public and prevent avoidable accidents and injuries, the Anacortes Police Depaartment is embarking on a traffic safety emphasis on distracted driving in March and April, after isssuing over 150 infractions for distracted driving last year.
RCW 46.61.67—Using a Wireless Communications Device or Hand-Held Mobile Telephone While Driving was the most common distracted driving infraction issued last year.
Several additional Anacortes drivers received infractions related to other distractions in their vehicle. One example was a driver who reached down for a cigarette on the floor which took their focus away from the road and caused them to strike another parked, unoccupied vehicle. The driver was cited for negligent driving.
Recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures suggest that handheld device usage while driving is on the rise. In 2013, 1.7 percent of drivers text-messaged or visibly manipulated a handheld device while driving. In 2014, that number increased to 2.2 percent.
Over 6,000 people were killed in vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2012-13; approximately 845,000 people were injured during that same time frame in crashes involving distracted drivers.
Drive or text, not both. Arrive safely.