RICHLAND, Wa. - The Richland Police Department Traffic Safety Unit wants to remind you to put down your cell phone while driving.
Under Washington state law, texting while driving can cost you $124 in fines. The law also states that drivers with an Intermediate License cannot use a cell phone behind the wheel at all, even if they're using a hands-free device.
Officers are asking parents to talk to their children about the consequences that texting while driving can have on a family.
Police describe distracted driving, as any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off your primary task: driving safely. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
Officers say youngest and most inexperienced drivers are at the highest risk, with 16% of all distracted driving crashes involving drivers younger than 20-years-old.
However, police say at any given moment during the day, over 800,000 people are driving and using a hand-held cell phone.
Police want to remind you that texting is the most alarming distraction, because it involves manual, visual, and cognitive distraction all at the same time.
Officers say sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that's the same as driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded.