POULSBO — Ever wonder why Washington has one of the highest seat-belt use rates in the country? According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, it’s due, in large part, to the highly visible “Click It or Ticket” campaign which includes publicity, extra enforcement, and signage.
In June 2002, when the primary seat belt law went into effect, approximately 82 percent of Washington drivers wore seat belts. Today, nearly 97 percent of Washington drivers are buckling up, the commission reports. Now, local law enforcement agencies are focusing on another traffic safety concern – distracted drivers who text and talk on their cell phones.
Between May 20 and June 2, motorists in Kitsap County can expect to see law enforcement officers patrolling city and county roads in search of unbuckled drivers and passengers, and drivers using cell phones.
Last year, during this same time period, officers on routine and extra patrols statewide issued 3,171 seat-belt violations among the 11,047 motorists who were stopped, the commission reports.
Similarly, last year during this time period, 1,059 cell-phone violations were written. However, taking a historical look, in 2010, (the same year cell phone use became a primary law in Washington), only 63 drivers were cited statewide, according to the commission.
In Kitsap County, the Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo and Suquamish police departments, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol will team up and participate in these extra patrols, with the support of the Kitsap County Target Zero Task Force.
These and all extra patrols are part of Target Zero — striving to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030. For more information, go to www.targetzero.com. For more information about the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, go to www.wtsc.wa.gov.