Did you drive along I-5 today? Say, sometime between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm? Notice a lot more Troopers out on the road? Nope, it wasn’t your imagination.
The Washington State Patrol (WSP) conducted a “High Visibility Enforcement Effort,” or HiVE for short. Basically, 10+ motorcycle officers “swarmed” Northbound and Southbound I-5 between Portland Avenue East and South 56th Street for four hours. By “swarm” we mean Troopers stopped every car they could that wasn’t obeying the law out on the small stretch of freeway. The two-mile stretch of freeway has one of the highest collision rates in the area.
Although citations were given, the main point of this type of emphasis was to provide driver safety education. Troopers were looking for everything from distracted driving to speeding. At the end of today’s, September 21, 2016, “swarm,” Troopers made 205 contacts but only wrote citations for 115.
Some citations included an open container for marijuana, texting while driving, aggressive driving, and improper child restraints.
Research shows that education and high visibility enforcement has a positive effect on driver’s behavior.
In 2015, Washington experienced a 23% increase in traffic fatalities from the previous year, the highest number since 2007. This rise in fatalities is troubling as the WSP and other agencies throughout the state are working towards the Target Zero goal of zero deaths and serious injuries along the state roadways by 2030.
WSP Assistant Chief Jeffery Sass who oversees the Field Operations Bureau says, “If we can save just one life, we have saved a family from the grief of losing a loved one. A simple change in driving behavior can reduce collisions and keep everyone who uses the road safe.”
The HiVE will continue along the same stretch of I-5 tomorrow, September 22, 2016, from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm.