(Txt n Dstract)

November 29, 2011

Hall Monitor By Jasmine Shen Issaquah High School

With a rising number of social networking sites online, the importance of friendship and sociality increases at an incessant rate for teens. Most cellphone users, teenagers especially, use text messages to communicate and interact, a normal occurrence that everyone has come to recognize and understand.

But the seemingly harmless tapping of fingers on the keyboard is the also same reason for a high degree of fatalities during driving, raised to an extent where insurance companies ask for nearly double a price for younger people. Studies have shown that texting and driving impairs a driver’s abilities and is very dangerous. Yet a high number of students have few qualms regarding this, choosing to put a little too high a certainty in their abilities.

When used sparingly and in moderation, texting is not a quandary at all, and can be beneficial and entertaining. However, when teenagers are often sleep-deprived and running low on energy, it is doubtless that texting is a good method to distract oneself manually, visually and cognitively when behind the wheel, significantly heightening the risk of crashing. This is part of the reason why adults view high school students stereotypically as negligent and technology addicted.

Texting has worked its way into the daily activities of teenagers. It’s safe when one chooses it to be so. Every teen should keep in mind that the next time he or she is about to step on that gas pedal, he or she should rub his or her eyes and remind himself or herself to be focused on the task at hand.

Troopers remind motorists to wake up to drowsy driving dangers

November 8, 2011

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 8, 2011

State troopers urged motorists to wake up to the dangers of drowsy driving to launch Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

In addition to drunken driving and distracted driving, drowsy driving can cause devastating effects on Washington roadways.

In 2010, drowsy driving caused 17 deaths and 74 seriously injured motorists in Washington. Estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than 100,000 accidents nationwide each year.

“It always breaks my heart to hear that someone was killed or injured because a driver fell asleep at the wheel; these are totally preventable deaths and collisions,” Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste said in a statement.

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week runs through Saturday.

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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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