YAKIMA, Wash.--Buckle up and put the cell phone down. Starting Monday, drivers in Central Washington can expect to see more officers patrolling city and county roads as part of the "Click It Or Ticket" campaign.
"It's all about saving lives, making people safer," said Sgt. Tony Bennett with the Yakima Police Department. "Our goal would be to get more people to understand how important it is that they wear that safety belt, and there's a reason it's called a safety belt."
During last year's Click It Or Ticket campaign, police issued more than 3,000 seat belt violations out of the 11,000 people who were stopped statewide. Officers said drivers are getting much better at buckling up. In fact, nearly 97 percent of Washington drivers wear seat belts.
"I think actually we're getting better at wearing our seat belts," said Sgt. Bennett. "I think people are getting more educated and realizing that first of all it can save your life to wear your seat belt."
"Seat belts keep you safe," said Dawn Gunner. "It's been proven. So I definitely support the seat belt law."
But even though people may be getting better at wearing their seat belts, police said distracted driving is on the rise. Officers said they catch a lot of drivers with phones to their ears or see their heads bobbing up and down while sending a text.
"Anything could happen at any time and you really need to be aware of what's going on so that you can make those actions if you need to put on your brakes or turn or whatever," said Gunner. "So I think it's a good idea. I think we need to be aware and focus on our driving."
Police said if it's an emergency, you can use a Bluetooth or other hands free device for phone calls.
A ticket for distracted driving or not wearing a seat belt costs $124.