Pasco Police Start Distracted Driving Patrols - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pasco Police Start Distracted Driving Patrols

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PASCO, WA- In 2012 alone, more than 3,300 people were killed in distracted driving crashes.

NBC Right Now did a ride-a-long with Pasco Police Saturday afternoon, to show just how dangerous distracted driving can be and how many people are putting their lives and other's at risk. 

Now when you think distracted, you're probably thinking about your cell phone, but what we'll learn, is it is a lot more than that. Distracted driving enforcement, it is a national campaign that is hitting home, especially in Pasco, where patrols see 10 to 15 drivers an hour, occupying themselves with something, other than driving.

You might not get pulled over for it, but having dogs in your lap, eating food or playing overly loud music is still considered distracted driving.

During the ride-a-long, the first violator admitted what he had done, and even said he had been ticketed for the same offense before. "He said that he answered it (the cell phone), and said, "I can't talk right now, I'll call you back", acknowledging he was on the phone, and knowing that he's not allowed to do that," explained Officer Saul Mendoza with the Pasco Police Department.

The officer has to see you on the phone, either next to your ear, or in plain sight.

The next stop was a woman, who was blatantly on her phone, for two blocks and she even ran a right turn on red.

"I can tell she was on her cell phone the entire time from 20th, ran through a red light,  and didn't come to a complete stop. Then after I even got up to her, she still wasn't aware because she was distracted by her phone. She put her phone all the way up and still looking through it," said Officer Mendoza.

The woman claimed she did not see any cars, and thought it was okay to go through the light. 

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that is enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.