Distracted driving went down in Washington over 2018

Jan 23, 2019, 5:39 AM
Distracted drivers...

A survey from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission reported a decrease in distracted drivers in both King County and the rest of the state between 2017 and 2018.

RELATED: A refresher on Washington’s distracted driving law

The WTSC’s report estimated that roughly 8.2 percent of drivers in 2018 were distracted in some way, down from 9.2 percent in 2017. That number encompasses any action that diverts the attention of a driver, including talking on a phone, smoking, eating, grooming, reading, and more.

The most significant change for Washington drivers, though, came for drivers on phones, down from 5.7 percent in 2017, all the way to 3.4 percent in 2018.

In terms of total distractions, holding a cell phone composed 41 percent, down from 61 percent in 2017. That said, anything under the “other distractions” umbrella — like smoking, eating, grooming, etc. — made up 44.7 percent of total distractions. That number was up from 22 percent in 2017.

The decrease in drivers on phones could very well be attributed to the 2017 passage of the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act, prohibiting the use of hand-held devices while operating a vehicle.

RELATED: Distracted driving one year into tougher restrictions

Overall, King County drivers were less distracted last year, down to 7 percent, from 10.2 percent in 2017. The most distracted county in the state was Kittitas at 15.6 percent of drivers, followed by Spokane at 11.6 percent. The least distracted county was Clalallam at 3.5 percent.

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Distracted driving went down in Washington over 2018