A new observational survey finds a slight decrease in distracted driving in Washington, with the distraction rate dipping by 1% in 2018 as compared to 2017, reports MyNorthwest.
Specifically, the survey revealed that 8.2% of drivers in 2018 engaged in distracted behaviors behind the wheel—down from 9.2% in 2017.
The data comes from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission who conducted the survey.
The most significant improvement relates to drivers holding cell phones. In 2016 and 2017, 5.6% and 5.7% of observed drivers were holding or using cell phones. In 2018, that number fell to 3.4%, reports The Monroe Monitor.
While cell phone use decreased, other distractions such as eating and tuning a radio increased.
Holding a cell phone comprised 41% of total distractions in 2018 — down from 61% in 2017. However, all behaviors under the "other distractions" category—grooming, smoking, fiddling with radios — made up 44.7% of total distractions, up from 22% in 2017, reports MyNorthwest.
The reduction in cell phone use may be linked to a law passed in 2017 in Washington that prohibits any hand-held device use while operating a motor vehicle, note reports.