Police stake out speeder havens
Fast drivers put on notice in 3 areas
By Scott Pesznecker
Police in Snohomish County plan to work overtime to nab lead-foot drivers in three of the county's worst areas for speeding.
Next month, as many as 40 extra police officers will spend about a week targeting speeders on roads near Marysville, Lakewood, Arlington, Lake Stevens and south of Mill Creek, said Tracy McMillan, coordinator for the Snohomish County DUI/Traffic Safety Task Force.
The crackdown will be repeated three times during the next year, Washington State Patrol trooper Kirk Rudeen said.
"Our goal is to get the speeds down in this area, and to have it be maintainable," Rudeen said.
The added patrols next month are part of a new pilot program being tested by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission in Snohomish and Pierce counties. The commission is paying for the extra patrol hours.
"If it works, we will use it throughout the state," McMillan said.
The area to receive extra patrols in north Snohomish County includes Highway 9, Highway 528 and Highway 531. The central county area includes Highway 9, Highway 92, Highway 204 and U.S. 2. The southern area includes Highway 9, Highway 524, Highway 527 and I-405. Police also will patrol nearby arterial roads.
More drivers are pulled over for speeding in the south and central areas of the county, where more people live, Rudeen said.
During the past five years, speeding was responsible for 38 percent of collisions causing injuries or fatalities on Highway 9, which extends through all three project areas.
Speeding has caused nearly one-third of 2,440 accidents on highways in the three areas since 2001. Roughly 45 percent of people involved in those speed-related collisions were injured or killed, according to Washington State Department of Transportation data.
Rudeen said he hopes the new strategy against speeding is as effective as the state's Click It or Ticket campaign, in which police periodically target people who haven't buckled up.
Since the program's debut in 2002 - the same year state lawmakers made it easier for police to cite people for not wearing a seat belt - the seat belt usage rate among drivers has increased from 82 percent to about 96 percent, according to traffic safety commission data.
"We know when we flood these areas, we will get compliance," trooper Rudeen said. "We want that to carry over. Even when we're not there, can we have the same impact?"
Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or email@example.com.