Distracted motorists to be targeted

Underway as of yesterday (Oct. 1), the Washington State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies began an educational campaign focused on distracted drivers motoring along on State Route 240.

SR-240, between Hanford and Kennewick, is one of the busiest roadways in the region that makes up the Yakima District of the Washington State Patrol.  Troopers say they handle an average of 18 collisions per month on that 14-mile stretch of roadway. Troopers suspect distracted driving is responsible for a disproportionate number of collisions on that road.

“Combining a relatively high speed limit with the ‘stop and go’ caused by traffic signals, high volumes of traffic during our commute hours and drivers not paying attention, is a recipe for disaster,” says WSP Lieutenant Tom Foster. 

The WSP has partnered with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Richland Police Department and Kennewick Police Department to conduct special emphasis patrols during the coming months. The focus of those patrols will be to educate drivers - through strict enforcement - about the danger of using electronic devices while driving. 

In addition, the department of transportation will be placing variable message signs in the area to remind drivers of the danger, and the extra patrols. 

“Our goal is not to write a bunch of tickets, it is to have people comply with the law and to reduce collisions. That not only keeps people safe, but helps keep traffic flowing,” says Foster.



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