Crackdown costly for speeders

East Pierce County patrols result in more than 7,700 tickets for driving too fast

STACEY MULICK; The News Tribune
Published: December 7th, 2006 01:00 AM
Drivers in East Pierce County were warned they’d get a ticket if caught speeding during a 15-day crackdown in October.

At least 11,000 drivers didn’t get the message.

Pierce County law enforcement officers stopped 11,060 drivers and wrote 9,470 tickets during the emphasis, according to a report issued Wednesday. Of those tickets, 7,746 were for speeding.

As a comparison, Washington State Patrol troopers stopped 1,969 drivers in the Pierce County area in October 2005, a month with no special emphasis patrols. During those stops, they wrote 1,230 speeding tickets.

The “Slow Down or Pay Up” enforcement: For three weeks, up to 20 officers per shift from 11 Pierce County law enforcement agencies patrolled the roads in East Pierce County for speeders.

In Snohomish County, a similar emphasis with fewer officers during the first two weeks in November ended with 1,597 drivers stopped and 1,048 tickets issued, 867 of them for speeding.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission provided more than $200,000 to the Pierce County agencies to pay for the extra patrols.

Enforcement zone: Highway 7 on the west, Highway 161 (otherwise known as Meridian) to the east, Highway 512 to the north and 176th Street East on the south.

The reason: The three highways were picked because they have many speeding-related crashes. In the past two years, speed-related collisions on the highways rose 42 percent, going from 248 in 2003 to 352 last year.

The goal: Cutting the average speed of drivers and number of speed-related crashes on the roadways.

Collisions: The report did not include the number of speed-related collisions reported in the enforcement zone during the emphasis.

A reminder: Thirty-nine signs have been posted throughout Pierce County’s enforcement zone to remind drivers to keep to the speed limit. The signs will be up for two years.

Coming up: Similar patrols are planned for January, April and July. Each lasts 15 days.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268