Washington Drivers Paying Closer Attention, New Survey Finds
State officials say they're seeing fewer people being distracted while behind the wheel. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission has released a report on its observational survey of distracted driving in June 2018. The survey found driver distraction rate was 8.2 percent in 2018, down from 9.2 percent in both 2016 and 2017.
Sgt. James Prouty with the Washington State Patrol says driver distraction includes "anything that takes the driver's attention away from what they're supposed to be focused on. It is electronic devices, but anything else in the car that takes their attention from where it used to be."
The survey also looked at how many drivers are actually holding cellphones. and in 2018, there was a significant decrease. In the previous two years, 5.6 and 5.7 percent (respectively) of observed drivers were holding cellphones. But in 2018, this dropped to 3.4 percent of drivers.
In 2016 and 2017, cellphones were the source of three-quarters of distractions. In 2018, due to the decrease in handheld cellphone use and the increase in “other distractions,” cellphones were the source of just over half of driver distractions.
In 2017, Washington passed the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics (E-DUI) Act, which prohibits any hand-held device use while operating a vehicle.