Washington State Patrol Continues Distracted Driving Emphasis - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington State Patrol Continues Distracted Driving Emphasis

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WSP emphasizes distracted driving on SR-240. WSP emphasizes distracted driving on SR-240.

KENNEWICK, WA - In October the Washington State Patrol started an emphasis on distracted driving for the 14-mile stretch of SR-240 between Hanford and Kennewick to reduce the amount of crashes on the highway.

"Cell phone use, texting, following too close, speeding. We're going to have to keep looking  at all of those violations because in October when we started the emphasis we had the highest amount of collisions in the last four months," says Trooper Chris Thorson, Washington State Patrol.

18 is the average number of collisions Washington State Patrol sees in the area per month, but at the start of their emphasis they have seen that number more than double with 38 collisions in October alone.

"What that tells us is that A: we do have a problem on this 240 highway, and B: we're going to have to continue this emphasis to be more visible and issue more citations for improper driving," says Thorson.

Tickets for these offenses will cost you $138 but this emphasis isn't in place to just raise money, Thorson says, "What we really want to do is reduce collisions. If someone pulls in front of you and you don't feel comfortable go ahead and feel free to coast off or apply your breaks and increase your following distance."

The emphasis was originally set to go through the end of December but could be extended into next year if Washington State Patrol does not see an improvement in the number of collisions.

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