YPD citing more drivers for cell phone use

YAKIMA, Wash. -- More people are getting caught in Yakima for driving while texting or talking on their cell phones. Police are writing more tickets.

"I think anyone who does any driving around the city of Yakima probably sees people on their cell phone quite a bit," said Captain Greg Copeland with the Yakima Police Department.

The YPD is cracking down on drivers who use their cell phones illegally. A lot of people think it's common sense.

"It's not because you're not a good driver, it's because there are so many people out there who are not good drivers," said Dave Porter, a Yakima resident.

YPD has already written 598 tickets this year for drivers using their cell phones. That beats last year's total of 592. And it's more than 2012, which was 576.

"It's not like officers have to go to a particular part of town or location," Copeland said. "I mean you see it everywhere."

Officers credit being able to hand out more tickets to a state-funded program that focuses on distracted driving. It enables YPD to dedicate days for officers to primarily look for cell phone violations.

Action News drove up and down Yakima Avenue for ten minutes and saw 12 people illegally using their cell phones. Captain Copeland says there are not enough officers to catch everyone.

He also doesn't think everyone understands the law. You can only be on a cell phone while driving if your hands are free. It doesn't matter if you're stopped at a light. A ticket will cost you about $100.

The YPD says it plans to have five or six more days this year where officers will mainly focus on finding drivers using their cell phones.

"Better a ticket than a grave," Porter said. "That's the way I see it."