Stuck In A Backup? WSP Suspects Drivers Who Text! - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Stuck In A Backup? WSP Suspects Drivers Who Text!

Photo courtesy: MGN Online Photo courtesy: MGN Online

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol is beginning to suspect that many of the collisions which cause traffic backups and delays are caused by people who are texting and driving at relatively low speeds. Those backups impede traffic, frustrate other drivers, and impact the state's economy by interfering with freight mobility.  

"You and I are sitting in traffic, going nowhere, because someone ahead of us was texting," said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. "We think texting is a factor in far more of these minor collisions than we'll ever be able to prove."  

Today's guidance is a departure from the State Patrol's historic practice of offering advice only when they have objective data. The Patrol knows with great certainty the number of people killed by speeding, impaired driving or the failure to wear a seat belt.  

Not so with texting-while-driving in collisions which cause only minor property damage. Traffic violations that lead to minor collisions are civil infractions, not crimes.   "We do not have the legal authority to get search warrants for cell phone records in cases of minor collisions," Batiste said. "Our priority in those cases is to get traffic moving again."  

Batiste said that texting while driving is risky behavior, regardless of your speed. He urged drivers to put down their phones, period. State Troopers cited over 1,000 drivers last year for texting at the wheel. 

Over 6,600 drivers were cited for talking on their cell phones without using a hands free device.  The fine for any cell phone violation is $124. 

If the traffic violation results in a collision, additional fees could be added.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Northern Lights dazzle across the region

    PHOTOS: Northern Lights dazzle across the region

    Sunday, May 28 2017 9:28 PM EDT2017-05-29 01:28:09 GMT

    KHQ.com - If you were up late Saturday night and looking up at the sky, you were treated to a beautiful light show courtesy of Mother Nature. Independence Day fireworks are still about a month away, but Saturday's Northern Lights display was just as dazzling. Several of you shared your photos with us. Click through the slide show above to see some of the photos sent to us.

    >>

    KHQ.com - If you were up late Saturday night and looking up at the sky, you were treated to a beautiful light show courtesy of Mother Nature. Independence Day fireworks are still about a month away, but Saturday's Northern Lights display was just as dazzling. Several of you shared your photos with us. Click through the slide show above to see some of the photos sent to us.

    >>
  • Police say 8 dead in Mississippi shooting

    Police say 8 dead in Mississippi shooting

    Sunday, May 28 2017 2:16 PM EDT2017-05-28 18:16:56 GMT

    BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (AP) - Authorities say a shooting spree that left eight people dead in Mississippi began with a call regarding a domestic dispute.      The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said in a news release Sunday that three female victims and a Lincoln County sheriff's deputy were killed. 

    >>

    BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (AP) - Authorities say a shooting spree that left eight people dead in Mississippi began with a call regarding a domestic dispute.      The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said in a news release Sunday that three female victims and a Lincoln County sheriff's deputy were killed. 

    >>
  • Trial set for former high school science teacher accused of lewd conduct

    Trial set for former high school science teacher accused of lewd conduct

    Sunday, May 28 2017 3:38 PM EDT2017-05-28 19:38:26 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE (AP) - A late summer trial is scheduled for a former Lake City High School science teacher who faces lewd conduct charges.      The Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Press reports that a two-week jury trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 26 for Jeffrey Kantola. Kantola is charged with lewd conduct with a minor under the age of 16. The felony charges can carry up to 15 years in prison.

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE (AP) - A late summer trial is scheduled for a former Lake City High School science teacher who faces lewd conduct charges.      The Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Press reports that a two-week jury trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 26 for Jeffrey Kantola. Kantola is charged with lewd conduct with a minor under the age of 16. The felony charges can carry up to 15 years in prison.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • One person facing arson charge in fires along Fish Lake Trail

    One person facing arson charge in fires along Fish Lake Trail

    Sunday, May 28 2017 9:44 PM EDT2017-05-29 01:44:08 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Update: Police say one person is in custody facing a charge of second degree arson in connection to a series of six brush fires started near the Fish Lake Trail. Police describe the person as a 51-year-old transient man living in the woods in the area.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Update: Police say one person is in custody facing a charge of second degree arson in connection to a series of six brush fires started near the Fish Lake Trail. Police describe the person as a 51-year-old transient man living in the woods in the area.

    >>
  • PHOTOS: Northern Lights dazzle across the region

    PHOTOS: Northern Lights dazzle across the region

    Sunday, May 28 2017 9:28 PM EDT2017-05-29 01:28:09 GMT

    KHQ.com - If you were up late Saturday night and looking up at the sky, you were treated to a beautiful light show courtesy of Mother Nature. Independence Day fireworks are still about a month away, but Saturday's Northern Lights display was just as dazzling. Several of you shared your photos with us. Click through the slide show above to see some of the photos sent to us.

    >>

    KHQ.com - If you were up late Saturday night and looking up at the sky, you were treated to a beautiful light show courtesy of Mother Nature. Independence Day fireworks are still about a month away, but Saturday's Northern Lights display was just as dazzling. Several of you shared your photos with us. Click through the slide show above to see some of the photos sent to us.

    >>
  • Two apartments damaged in fire on E. Euclid

    Two apartments damaged in fire on E. Euclid

    Sunday, May 28 2017 8:47 PM EDT2017-05-29 00:47:10 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Fire crews were called to a fire at an apartment complex in the 2500 block of E. Euclid Ave. Sunday afternoon. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire, but two apartments did sustain damage. No one was home at the time and no injuries were reported.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Fire crews were called to a fire at an apartment complex in the 2500 block of E. Euclid Ave. Sunday afternoon. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire, but two apartments did sustain damage. No one was home at the time and no injuries were reported.

    >>