U-Drive, U-Text, U-Pay: Washington Patrols Crack Down On Texting And Driving

Apr 9, 2014

You’ve probably heard the slogan “Click It or Ticket” to promote seat belt safety.

Now, Washington state is joining in a new national campaign to target people who text and drive.

Special patrols will be out statewide, starting tomorrow and this campaign comes with its own snappy slogan as well. 

Each fine for distracted driving, including texting and driving, is $124.
Credit VCU CNS/Flickr

U-Drive, U-Text, U-Pay.

That's the tagline for this new campaign to target distracted drivers.

Detective Tony Matthews is with the police department in Lake Forest Park. We’re standing along a busy stretch of Bothell Way, a few miles north of Seattle.

Matthews is giving me a glimpse of how these special- emphasis patrols work.

"So just by standing here three to four minutes, three cellphone violations. All of which we can actually stop somebody for and cite them," says Matthews. 

Each at a fine of $124.

Matthews says statistics clearly show your risk of a traffic accident goes up when you text or talk on a cellphone.

This campaign aims to change those behaviors, and cut out other distractions, like eating in the car.

Matthews admits he sometimes grabs a bite on the road. But he’s trying stop.

The patrols will be out across the state for about a week.

And Matthews warns, officers have heard all the excuses.

"Oh, I just had to check my e-mail. Or ‘my mother called and she’s sick.’ I mean..."

So, if you do get stopped, you may wonder, can crying help you get out of a ticket?

"Crying? They can do anything they want. Usually when we’re doing an emphasis we don’t give verbal warnings, so chances are pretty good that you’re going to actually get a ticket when we’re doing an emphasis," says Matthews. 

Matthews suggests, if you really need to check your phone, just pull off to the side of the road. It only takes a few seconds.

Copyright 2014 KUOW