OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington Traffic Safety Commission is taking a new approach as traffic-related deaths continue to rise across the state.
It has been nearly 20 years since the launch of the Target Zero campaign and state leaders are still hoping to reach the goal of zero traffic deaths by 2030.
Traffic Safety Commission spokesperson Shelly Baldwin said drivers who are participating in safe practices behind the wheel could do more by making sure others are doing the same.
"Do you have conversations within your family and set rules?" asked Baldwin. "Do you say, 'as part of my trust within this family I'm going to pledge not to use my phone?'"
Baldwin said the Traffic Safety Commission has been working with employers to encourage them to ask employees to refrain from taking conference calls, or calls of any kind on the road.
However, the number of deaths haven't always been on the rise. The state saw a significant decrease from 2008 to 2013, but that changed just a year later. From 2014 to 2015, there was a 17 percent spike in traffic deaths which hit 551.
"These deaths stand out because they break a contract that we have with each other," Baldwin said. "When we are using the road whether we are walking or biking or driving it's a bit trustful. Right? When you're going one way on the freeway and someone else is going the other way, you're trusting them not to come into your lane," she said.
Traffic safety staff ask that people report drunk drivers, make sure friends and family members that have been drinking have a plan to get home safely and that people continue the conversation surrounding safe driving practices.