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County deputies, the Washington State Patrol and local police will all be focusing on busting distracted drivers, and not just for working the thumbs. (AP Photo/File)

WSP troopers, county and city cops target distracted drivers

It's against the law, but everywhere you look, you see people doing it - talking or texting behind the wheel. When was the last time you stopped at a light, and the person next to wasn't working their thumbs?

The police are going after distracted drivers for the next two weeks, and you will be getting busted.

Distracted driving kills. Twenty percent of all King County traffic deaths over the last three years involve distracted drivers.

County deputies, the Washington State Patrol and local police will all be focusing on busting distracted drivers, and not just for working the thumbs.

"This also goes beyond just the texting and cell phones," said State Trooper Chris Webb. "It could be people eating food, messing with the radio, maybe having a deep conversation and not paying attention to what they're doing while driving."

Webb said the police will be using spotters in unmarked cars who will watch for distracting behavior and radioing-ahead to pull-over offenders. Even the slightest error behind the wheel could get you busted.

"Weaving, not having good lane control, not using your turn signal, encroaching on another driver's lane," he said.

Webb said he sees this behavior all the time, but he usually can't pull someone over because he's on a higher-priority call. Not over the next two weeks.

While Webb hasn't seen the stereotypical distracted driver, the person eating a burger, holding a phone and driving with their knees, he has nearly been hit several times while on traffic stops on the side of the road.

"That's happened to me a few times," he said. "A lot of times it's frustrating because you're tied up at the scene so you're not able to actually go out and stop the violator."

It isn't against the law to eat and drive or put on makeup and drive, but Webb said drivers who swerve or cross the traffic lines while doing that will be getting a ticket.

The fine is $124, but if you've involved in an accident, the fine will go up.


Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio Reporter
Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.
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