April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Washington State. As we begin the month there's some good news from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s Annual Distracted Driving Observation Survey. The survey says the rate fell in 2021, from 9.4 percent in 2020 to 6.9 percent.

Authorities are hoping to decrease the rate this month with patrols

Commission officials hope to see the rate drop even more this month as emphasis patrols get underway. Patrols participating in Yakima County include:

Yakima Police Department
Yakima County Sheriff's Office
Selah Police Department
This year authorities will have more eyes looking for distracted drivers. A news release says "law enforcement agencies across the state will be conducting emphasis patrols, with the aid of spotters on foot looking for motorists who continue to drive distracted."
“Focused driving means safer roads,” says Erika Mascorro,

Safety officials say the decline shows progress

Washington Traffic Safety Commission Program Manager for Distracted Driving. “The decline in distracted drivers gives us something to cheer as we kick-off distracted driving month. Seeing more people focused on driving is motivation to get all of us off the phone when we’re on the road.”
Despite the recent decline Washington's distracted driving rate climbed nearly three points in 2020 over 2019. Officials say in 2021 the rate declined to its pre-pandemic level.

You can probably guess what distracts drivers the most in Yakima

What's the most common type of distracted driving authorities see in Yakima and around the state? Drivers using cell phones. In 2017, the legislature passed Washington’s current distracted driving law, which bans hand-held cell phone use while driving, stopped in traffic, or while at a stop light. Commission officials say since the law was passed, distracted driving deaths have decreased 40 percent, from 155 in 2017 to 93 in 2020.

Do you talk and drive?

If you use the phone while driving research shows it takes a driver 27 seconds to refocus on the road after using a cell phone, the time it can take to drive the length of three football fields in a car moving at 25 mph.

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.

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