WSP ride along: Hang Up and Drive

Aug 11, 2010, 3:00 PM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

Texting while driving? If so you’re just as impaired as someone with a blood alcohol level of .16, or twice the legal limit.

The Washington State Patrol released a new video ride-along with Sergeant Freddy Williams as he discusses why distractions, such as texting or talking on the cell phone, are so dangerous. Washington’s ban on texting while driving and holding a cell phone to talk while driving has been in effect for two months.

Among the new stats from the video:

  • On Washington highways there were 739 fatal crashes involving distracted drivers between 2004 and 2008, and 801 deaths.
  • One quarter of those killed were between the ages of 16 and 25.
  • Over 20 percent of all deaths involving distracted drivers occurred in July and August.
  • Talking on cell phone impairs a person’s driving ability and it’s like having a blood alcohol level of .08
  • Texting while driving equates to .16, which is twice the legal limit for alcohol.

Sgt. Williams also has an explanation for why it’s okay to hold a phone and talk on a speaker phone.

“Part of driving is the visual aspect, knowing what’s going on around you,” says Williams. If your peripheral vision is blocked by holding a cell phone to your ear, and especially if the majority of traffic is on your left hand side you can’t see your mirrors, you can’t see what’s going on around you.”

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WSP ride along: Hang Up and Drive