All law enforcement agencies in SE Washington will be a part of these emphasis patrols.

During the last round of emphasis patrols April 10-15 of this year,  in Benton and Franklin Counties,  some 49 motorists were given citations for illegal cellphone use while driving.

Since it became illegal in 2010 to talk or text on your phone while driving, the number of drivers cited for cellphone use went from about 700 a month to over 4,000.  According to Julie Furlong of the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, THAT increase was without dedicating extra manpower to just look for cellphone violators. Those citations came during Click-It-Or-Ticket seatbelt patrols.

Now, while officers are conducting seat-belt patrols starting May 19th, they will also be on the lookout for distracted drivers...that means using the cellphone without approved Bluetooth or other wireless devices.

The emphasis patrols will run from May 19th through June 1st.   The effort is part of the Washington state Target Zero campaign, which hopes to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries in our state to -0- by the year 2030.