The Washington State Patrol (WSP) is partnering with other law enforcement agencies to conduct emphasis patrols in North Central Washington throughout next week.

The efforts, which are known as High Visibility Enforcement (HiVE) patrols, will focus on distracted driving in Chelan, Grant, Kittitas, and Okanogan Counties with the goal of reducing serious injury and fatality collisions.

WSP Trooper Jeremy Weber says recent statistics prove that distracted driving can be lethal.

"I pulled some statistics from just last year and just in our district (District 6) alone, nearly ten percent of our collisions were directly related to distracted driving. Then I pulled up the DUI numbers and it was seven percent. So we have a huge problem with DUI crashes for sure, but we have even more of a problem with distracted driving."

NewsRadio 560 KPQ logo
Get our free mobile app

Weber says distracted driving can occur for a variety of reasons but the number one culprit continues to be cell phone use.

"Obviously, everybody's got a cell phone these days and for all intents and purposes, it's a computer and you can do just about anything you want to on it. But people are so used to having those in their hands at all times that they lose focus when driving. All it takes is just a few seconds of not watching the road and your life or somebody else's could change forever."

Thus far, the WSP has scheduled eight HiVE patrols in areas like Ellensburg, Moses Lake, Okanogan, and Wenatchee from April 1-5.

The patrols utilize agency data to ensure that law enforcement resources are placed in the right locations at the proper times to create the greatest impact.

7 Tips to Keep From Being Distracted While Driving

Gallery Credit: Stephanie Crist

More From NewsRadio 560 KPQ