Survey still finds illegal cell phone use a problem

Survey still finds illegal cell phone use a problem
WASHINGTON - Bad driving habits are often to blame for accidents.
While slogans like "Drive Hammered, Get Nailed" or "Click It Or Ticket" may seem corny, their messages are clear. Every year, the state conducts a survey of drivers to make sure our highways are safer.

The survey found that drunk driving laws have made the most impact.
Nine out of ten drivers know they're likely to get busted if caught. Less than 10 percent say they get behind the wheel within a couple of hours of drinking.

Speeding seems under control, 75 percent of drivers surveyed say they rarely or never drive faster than posted speeds.

Even seat belt laws seem to be en grained, close to 98-percent say they buckle up.

So what's the hardest habit to break? Using a cell phone.

Lyle Andrusiek said, "I use it safely, I use it with a blue tooth headset."

But not everyone does. In fact, little has changed since the law banning cell phone use passed two years ago, even if drivers know better.

Driver Nery Garcia said, "Yes, I've talked on the phone. I try to avoid texting."

The younger the driver, the more likely they are to use their phone while in the car. Whether it's to talk or to send a text message, the age group of 18-24 had the highest number of drivers that admitted to this bad behavior.

More than 78 percent said they used their phones illegally while driving. Pair that with their limited driving experience and you have a recipe for disaster.

Nery knows its wrong and often takes some of his teacher's advice.
He stashes his phone in the trunk of his car to avoid the temptation to use it.

Still Nery admits, "It still happens. I'm not going to lie."

Washington State Patrol will work even harder to make sure everyone knows about the dangers of distracted driving.

Four regions in our state including Yakima and the Tri-Cities, were surveyed.