Extra patrol for Distracted Driving Awareness month

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Law enforcement agencies statewide will add extra distracted driving patrols for Distracted Driver Awareness month this April. If the driver’s distractions cause other traffic violations, they will receive a dangerously distracted citation. The campaign is organized by The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC).

The Blaine police department and Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office will be a couple of the 130 law enforcement agencies focusing on distracted driving until Monday, April 19.

“Together we can make our roads safer,” WTSC director Shelly Baldwin said in a media release. “If you’re behind the wheel, put your phone away. If you’re a passenger, speak up politely to encourage the driver to remain focused. As a parent, set rules and be a good example.”

The statewide distracted driver rate increased from 6.8 percent in 2019 to 9.4 percent last year, according to WTSC’s 2020 distracted driving observation survey. The survey also shows that distracted driving doubled for both city and rural driving.

“We hope that by emphasizing distracted driving prevention this April we can help everyone build safety habits that are not dependent on fear of getting a ticket,” WTSC program manager Erika Mascorro said in the media release.

WTSC released steps that people in a car can do to practice safe driving. To increase safety while in the car, WTSC says the best thing a driver can do for themselves and others on the road is to put their phone away.

Other tips the commission recommends are for drivers to put their phone out of reach, for passengers to say something if they are in the car with a distracted driver and for families to lead by example. The steps to help prevent distracted driving can be found online at bit.ly/2Osqs8K.

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