9/17/2014

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Cell phone use causing more wrecks

Cell phone use causing more wrecks
YAKIMA, Wash.-- Busy intersections in Yakima are becoming more dangerous. Despite roadwork, lights, and signs to keep drivers safe, they are crashing for breaking laws mainly involving speed and cell phones.

"I notice it's a bit more dangerous," said Jose Rodriguez, a Yakima driver.

YPD's Traffic Division agrees. It compiled a list of the 10 most dangerous intersections in Yakima based on accidents in 2012. The top four had 96 accidents combined last year. Almost half of them involved injuries. First Street and Washington Avenue had the most with 31, followed by First Street and Nob Hill Boulevard, 40th and Nob Hill, and 40th and Fruitvale Boulevard.

"The intersection on the side: people who go through like yellow or green lights, or really big trucks that come through here," says Gillian Luke about the dangers she sees.

Police don't necessarily blame the intersections alone for the danger. Careless drivers are playing a role. The most common type of distracted driving is cell phone use.

"Cell phones, texting, there's like road rage when people are late to be somewhere," Luke said.

"They're looking up, they're looking down, they're looking up, they're looking down," YPD Sergeant Jay Seely said. "They're not focused on driving."

YPD, Union Gap police and the Yakima County Sheriff's Office are sharing a $52,000 state grant to try to reduce these accidents. Starting next month, officers will work overtime to patrol First Street and Nob Hill to enforce distracted driving laws.

"Driving with my kids, I'm very cautious in driving around this intersection," said Rodriguez.

Law enforcement is aiming to cut the number of accidents in half by using the grant.


Ten most dangerous intersections:
1st St. & Washington Ave
1st St. & Nob Hill Blvd.
40th Ave. & Nob Hill Blvd.
40th Ave. & Fruitvale Blvd.
1st St. & Mead Ave.
40th Ave. & Summitview Ave.
16th Ave. & Nob Hill Blvd.
Fair Ave. & Nob Hill Blvd.
18th St. & Nob Hill Blvd.
16th Ave. & Summitview Ave.
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