Survey finds 7 in 10 distracted drivers engage with phones

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) has released the results of a state-wide observational survey of distracted drivers.

The survey found that cell phone use was the most common type of distraction, with 71% of distracted drivers engaging with their phones while operating their vehicles.

Across the state, nearly 1 in 10 drivers in Washington State are distracted while driving, representing a distraction rate of 9.2%. Fatalities from distracted driving in Washington increased by 32% between 2014 and 2015.

“Our goal is reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries on Washington’s roadways to zero by the year 2030; we call this Target Zero,” said Angie Ward, program manager at the WTSC. “With fatalities from distracted driving increasing, and with drivers engaging in the riskiest type of distracting behavior — cell phone use — reducing distracted driving must become a higher priority.”

More than 22,300 vehicle drivers were observed in the WTSC survey, in 23 counties across the state. While cell phone use was the most frequent distraction, other distractions observed included behaviors such as eating, tuning a radio, or attending to pets or children.

In addition to pending legislation to confront the issue of distracted driving, the issue is being addressed by the WTSC through its Target Zero programs, and by state law enforcement agencies, who are working toward eliminating distracted driving behaviors through enforcement and education efforts, including a coordinated, state-wide distracted driving patrol scheduled for April 2017. The WTSC also promotes awareness of distracted driving dangers through high school education programs.

The full report is available at

Further information on Target Zero can be found at