WSP says they'll be cracking down on texting and driving through - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

WSP says they'll be cracking down on texting and driving through out the Yakima Valley

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YAKIMA, WA.- Texting and driving, it's a serious problem. Nowadays, cell phones are practically attached to our hands, but who gets caught the most?  

Plenty of people seem to think it's the young or inexperienced driver texting or talking on the phone, but that's not the case here in the Yakima Valley.  

"It's all ages," WSP Trooper Trevor Herrud told us, "Sometimes it's social, but a lot of times it's work related. I know people are busy and have jobs to do, but you have to refrain from doing it in the car."

During 2015 the Washington State Patrol pulled over 11,213 drivers for texting and driving. 6,135 of those drivers were under the age of 40 and 5,078 were over the age of 40. The stigma that young or new drivers are the ones texting and driving just isn't true.

Texting and driving and even talking on the phone while driving is illegal here in Washington state, something many people know, but according to local law enforcement it's something they believe they can get away with. 

"It's obviously distracting people, because they don't even know I'm here half the time when I pull up next to them," Trooper Herrud said. 

WSP says they've even seen a substantial increase in distracted driving over the past 5 years. Cell phones, eating in the car, or talking to someone sitting next to you; all of those things are playing a role in the increase in distracted driving accidents.

"Even if it's not texting and driving people are always doing something in their cars and it's definitely a distraction," Trooper Herrud said.    

However he says the increase really comes down to new technology, specifically smart phones. Whether it be social media or even a GPS taking drivers attention away from the road.    

We stopped several drivers and spoke to them about the risks of texting and driving. One local student at YVCC told us she tries not to text and drive, but agrees smart phones play a huge role in the increase of distracted drivers. 

"I try to use my blue tooth as much as I can, but setting all that up, it takes forever," YVCC student Brook Austin said, "I try to focus on the road, but it really is hard when you have GPS, social media, calling, and all these things you can now do on your phone." 

However regardless of all the new apps and features you can find on smart phones Washington State Patrol wants to remind drivers that it is illegal. If they catch you texting and driving you'll most likely be pulled over, given a citation, and fined. Three or more of these citations could even result in a suspended license and higher fines. 

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