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Report: Washington's distracted driving rate was down in 2018

Distracted driving can trigger significant motor vehicle accidents. How common this driving behavior is here in Washington state is a very important issue.

Recently, the state released a report on this issue. The report discussed the results of observational research that was conducted in Washington in June of 2018. In this research, intersections in the state were monitored to estimate the distracted driving rate of the state's drivers.

Similar research was conducted in May 2016 and May 2017. The report indicates that, compared to 2016 and 2017, distracted driving rate was down in Washington in 2018.

Now, there are some caveats to note when it comes to this drop:

  • The drop was relatively small: According to the report, in 2018, the rate fell to 8.2 percent, in comparison to the 9.2 percent rate that both 2017 and 2016 saw. This drop doesn't rise to the level of being statistically significant.
  • Not all distracted driving was down: While the report found that cellphone-related distracted driving was down, it found there to be an increase in the rate of "other" distracted driving. This category includes driving distractions such as adjusting the radio, responding to children, responding to pets and eating.
  • Trends differed throughout the state: The state's counties varied in what distracted driving trends they saw in 2018. Some showed decreases in distracted driving rate, while others showed increases. As a note, Thurston Country saw a drop, with its rate decrease being bigger than what was seen statewide.

In your opinion, how big of a problem is distracted driving here in Washington? Do you think drivers in the state are getting better at avoiding distractions? What would you like to see done towards further lowering the occurrence of distracted driving in the state?

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