Speeding crackdown underway in Pierce County
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October 5, 2006
By Keith Eldridge
PUYALLUP - A crackdown is underway at the state's hotspot for high-speed crashes. Extra police are out on the roads writing tickets as part of a program called "Slow Down or Pay Up."
Police are pulling out all the stops to make the stops, and officers on the ground are getting help from the 'bear in the air,' the state patrol airplane.
"Which lane is he in?" an officer asks the pilot overhead during Thursday's enforcement effort. "Left lane next to a white semi with a red nose," comes the response. "Yeah, I got him."
The worst high-speed crashes happen near the South Hill of Puyallup on Highway 512 heading to Spanaway.
The Governor and the Transportation Safety Commission are putting $200,000 into this 15-day effort to get the speeders to slow down.
"What we've found out through other programs is the best way to gain compliance is through enforcement and issuing citations," said Washington State Patrol Trooper Bill Ashcraft. "We know people will slow down once the word is out and they know we're out here because you hit them in the pocketbook."
One speeder pulled over Thursday was issued a $153 ticket for going 75 miles per hour. "It's tough to be picked on, but it's worth it, it's well worth it," said Bruce Peterson. "I've had a couple of tickets. I shouldn't be speeding."
He later found out the total fine was boosted to $792 for not having registration or proof of insurance.
Police say the crackdown is working. "By 11 o'clock this afternoon I could tell that everyone was slowing down a lot because there were 4-6 officers out there writing," said Pierce County Sheriff Deputy Jeff Fleig.
The idea is to get folks to slow down to prevent high-speed crashes. For the drivers it's an expensive way to find out the officers are just trying to keep them alive.
Officers from several jurisdictions are going to be out here until 8 o'clock at night and then back at it at 6 a.m.