Troopers cite 370 motorists for cellphone infractions

October 25, 2011

Washington State Patrol troopers stopped almost 400 motorists for cellphone infractions last month.

Troopers continue to monitor local roads for cellphone violators.

State law changed in 2009 to make cellphone use and texting primary offenses for motorists. Before the change, law enforcement officers could only cite drivers for phone use if the driver violated the speed limit or broke another law.

In September, King County troopers stopped 370 drivers for talking on cellphones and 43 people for texting behind the wheel. The state patrol said more than half of the violators received a $124 ticket for illegal cellphone use.

The state patrol encouraged motorists not to use a cell phone behind the wheel, but if necessary, to use a hands-free device to help keep the focus on the roadway.

State, partners target distracted driving for National Teen Driver Safety Week

October 18, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. Oct. 18, 2011

Officials plan to highlight teenage motorists’ districted-driving stories during National Teen Driver Safety Week.

For National Teen Driver Safety Week, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission joined State Farm and Clear Channel Radio to develop a project aimed at reducing distracted-driving collisions among teens.

The annual observance is celebrated through Saturday.

Radio announcers on Clear Channel stations popular among teenagers — KUBE-FM and KISS-FM — plan to solicit personal stories from teens about distracted-driving experiences. Organizers plan to then develop the stories into YouTube videos and radio public-service announcements.

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Police cite motorists for failing to buckle up

June 14, 2011

Police issued 288 tickets for seatbelt offenses during a recent effort to encourage motorists to buckle up.

From May 23 to June 5, the Issaquah Police Department and other law enforcement agencies patrolled local roads at night, looking for unbelted motorists.

Overall, police issued more than 600 citations for seatbelt violations and other infractions. The citations included 192 cellphone and texting violations, 40 speeding tickets and two aggressive driving infractions. Officers made six misdemeanor warrant arrests, and issued 85 uninsured motorist and 24 suspended or revoked license violations.

Statewide, law enforcement officers and the Washington State Patrol wrote 6,681 tickets, including 2,994 seatbelt violations, during the patrols.

In King County, the Target Zero Task Force and local law enforcement agencies worked the extra patrols. Funding for the patrols came from a Washington State Traffic Commission grant.

“Buckling up is the simplest and most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in the car.” Kent Police Sgt. Robert Constant, South King County law enforcement liaison, said in a news release.

Texting and driving: the deadly habit destroying our youth

April 19, 2011

You are on your way home from after-school sports, bumpin’ the music in your car, super excited to get home and call your buddies to see who wants to chill for the night. You feel your phone buzz in your pocket and you chuckle to yourself, 99.9 percent sure it’s your babe. You pull it out, taking a quick glance, but promising yourself that you won’t respond.

Hall Monitor Sami Halela Liberty High School

Too bad it’s the sweetest message ever and you just can’t help but sneak in a quick response. You look down for a second to finish the text and when you look back up, you realize the light has turned red and you’re already sailing through the intersection. There is a car headed straight for you.

What are the consequences of that split-second decision? Is your life or someone else’s really worth risking one look at your phone? Ask yourself this: Are you going to choose carefully between life and death the next time you receive a text message while driving?

Most people think they are exempt from the statistics they’ve seen on Oprah. They think that those graphic images of collision victims on TV don’t relate to their lives in any way. They blindly ignore the warnings they have heard so many times and refuse to take the pledge against distracted driving, thinking such a calamity will never plague them.

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Troopers plan anti-DUI blitz for Super Bowl Sunday

February 1, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. Feb. 1, 2011

Target Zero Teams in King County plan to tackle drunken driving on Super Bowl Sunday.

Washington State Patrol troopers plan to fan out on state roads across the county in the hours after Super Bowl XLV.

“Fans don’t let fans drive drunk,” WSP Chief John Batiste said in a release. “Baseball has the designated hitter. On Super Bowl Sunday we need designated drivers to make sure their fellow fans get home safely.”

The agency also encouraged motorists to call 911 to report suspected impaired drivers. Under state law, drivers can use mobile phones to report emergencies to 911.

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Issaquah police join DUI crackdown Friday

December 14, 2010

NEW — 1 p.m. Dec. 14, 2010

Issaquah police and other law enforcement officers plan to step up traffic safety patrols Friday and Saturday during the Night of 1,000 Stars.

The stars symbolize the badges worn by on-duty law enforcement officers. The upcoming patrol marks the 20th year of the Night of 1,000 Stars emphasis patrol.

The effort is set up to remove impaired drivers from local roads. Officers also plan to be on the lookout for people speeding, driving aggressively, not wearing a seatbelt, using mobile phones illegally or violating other traffic laws.

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AAA website targets teen drivers and parents

November 23, 2010

A new AAA website brings parents together with teenagers who are learning to drive.

The interactive site helps parents and teens with webisodes and worksheets that cover topics including nighttime driving, distracted driving, alcohol and other drugs, and parent-teen driving agreements.

The site has information from AAA’s “Dare to Prepare” workshop, the motor club’s “Teaching Your Teens to Drive” coaching program and information about selecting a driving school.

The site is based on a National Institutes of Health program, and is state-tailored.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, killing nearly 6,000 annually. In 2009, 56 teens in Washington died in motor vehicle crashes.

Follow rules of the road during Teen Driver Safety Week

October 17, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 17, 2010

Here’s a surprising fact: Research shows parents as the single greatest influence on teens’ driving.

Between Sunday and Saturday, the state celebrates National Teen Driver Safety Week to bring attention to the laws governing new drivers — and the impacts parents have on teens by setting limits and modeling responsible driving behavior.

For the second consecutive year, State Farm has provided a grant to the state Traffic Safety Commission to remind parents of teens about the resources available to teach teens to drive safely. Look for public service announcements on local broadcast stations throughout the week.

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Off The Press

August 10, 2010

* This story contains corrected information.

Tim Pfarr Press reporter

‘Getaway car’ has the latest technologies

When many people think of car technology, they think of a stereo, a wireless cell phone headset, a GPS and a car alarm. However, sit those people in Car Toys’ “getaway car,” and they will quickly see an entire world of auto technology they have been missing.

The car — a 2010 Honda CR-V donated by Bob Bridge Toyota* — may look ordinary on the outside, but inside it’s equipped with almost $4,000 worth of the latest gadgets that keep the driver, the car and others on the road safe.

“We’re wanting to promote driver safety,” said Kyle Brehm, Car Toys wholesale and commercial district manager, who visited the Issaquah store with the car July 30.

“There are a lot of distractions out there on the road, and there are tools on any budget to help you be a safer driver,” he said.

Among the handy gadgets inside are a $40 Samsung WEP470 Bluetooth headset, a $90 Blue Ant S4 Bluetooth speakerphone that clips to a visor and a $300 Parrot MKI9200 Bluetooth system that links with the car’s audio system and mutes music when a call is received.

Of course, the Bluetooth mac daddy is the $1,800 Kenwood DNX9960 that has all the previously listed features plus a stereo, GPS and DVD player, although the latter only works when the car is stopped. Read more

Technology in emergency vehicles carries risks, rewards

July 6, 2010

State phone ban exempts emergency services agencies

Greg Tryon, Eastside Fire & Rescue battalion chief, describes the laptops, smart phones and other communications equipment used in the agency’s mobile command posts, fire trucks and aid cars. By Greg Farrar

Distractions abound for Eastside Fire & Rescue trucks roaring through downtown Issaquah or down Northwest Gilman Boulevard at rush hour: cars racing to catch a yellow light, cyclists steering through narrow bike lanes and drivers chatting into mobile phones or tapping out text messages.

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