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Police look for texting drivers

Law enforcement officers in Washington will be cracking down on distracted drivers as part of a new national distracted driving enforcement campaign this month.

The campaign runs through April 15, and officials said the high visibility enforcement efforts will target motorists who are observed driving distracted — talking on hand-held cell phones, sending text messages and otherwise not paying attention to the road while driving.

“We hear from citizens on a regular basis that they want stricter enforcement of distracted driving laws,” said Washington Traffic Safety Commission Director Darrin Grondel. “This effort gives us the chance to provide funding to more than 100 law enforcement agencies throughout Washington to do just that.”

The slogan of the national campaign is “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” and is being carried out during the month of April, which is National Distracted Driving Month. This effort is modeled after similar successful high visibility enforcement campaigns such as “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

A recent study found that many distracted drivers are texting while behind the wheel.

Researchers at UW Medicine’s Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center conducted a study of drivers in Washington in 2013. They found that nearly one in 10 drivers was observed using a cell phone or texting behind the wheel.

Among those driving distracted, nearly half (47 percent) were texting.

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