Published: Monday, November 6, 2006
Bear in the air spies speeders
By Scott Pesznecker
Dozens of aggressive drivers on the fastest stretch of freeway in Snohomish County have been ticketed this year with the help of a Washington State Patrol airplane.
Since July, the State Patrol has used a Cessna to call out nearly 300 speeders to troopers on the ground on I-5 north of Smokey Point, trooper Kirk Rudeen said.
The plane has weeded out 50 drivers traveling faster than 90 mph, and seven drivers exceeding 100 mph, according to State Patrol data.
"It shows how good that aircraft is in finding aggressive drivers," Rudeen said.
Last year, about 13,400 northbound vehicles were recorded traveling at least 90 mph on the stretch of I-5, according to the state Department of Transportation. Nearly 8,400 southbound drivers were clocked at 90 mph or more.
The State Patrol plans to keep using the airplane to target speeders, Rudeen said.
The Cessna gives troopers an advantage because it can follow speeders undetected. This allows troopers to collect several readings on a vehicle's speed, which makes it more difficult for people to fight their tickets in court, Rudeen said.
Troopers on the ground are also better prepared to pull someone over when they have warning that a speeder is coming their way, Rudeen said.
The speed of traffic tends to slow down during the dark, rainy weather of winter, Rudeen said.
Otherwise, the overall speed on the northern section of I-5 hasn't changed much, even though more people are being pulled over, he said.
"It takes a while to change driving behaviors," Rudeen said. "We just want people to know that we take it very seriously, to reduce the collisions and try to get speeding under control."
Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or email@example.com.