Distracted drivers may not notice the police car or another vehicle until it’s too late.
In Benton and Franklin counties, police and sheriff’s deputies are spending extra time looking for distracted drivers starting Nov. 11. They are looking for people talking on hand-held cellphones, texting and otherwise not paying attention.
“Nearly one in every 10 drivers was observed using a cellphone ... nearly half (47 percent) were texting. Talking on a cell phone increases crash risk four times. Texting increases crash risk 23 times,” said Kennewick traffic Sgt. Matt Newton, citing a 2013 study of Washington drivers.
During the past four years, 15 people died and 60 were seriously injured in Benton and Franklin counties because of distracted drivers.
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The emphasis patrols as part of Target Zero – a program to end traffic fatalities and injuries by 2030. Special funding from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission pays for the extra patrols.