By Rikki King Herald Writer
EVERETT — The troopers want you to see them.
In fact, that’s kind of the point.
The Washington State Patrol is partnering with local police agencies to launch a new initiative to crack down on speeding in Snohomish County. If it’s successful, they hope to take the program statewide.
The new targeted-patrols program officially kicks off Monday, but police started test runs this past week. The program doesn’t have an official name yet.
The State Patrol analyzed data to find where and when the most speed-related wrecks occurred, especially those that ended in deaths or serious injuries.
The data highlighted three hot spots along the I-5 corridor and three in east county.
Most of the serious wrecks happened in those areas between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., State Patrol Sgt. Kirk Rudeen said. That’s the afternoon commute.
The same pattern exists on state highways, county roads and city streets, he said.
That’s why traffic enforcement crews from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and Everett Police Department are joining in.
Drivers may see police cars and motorcycles in the targeted areas from agencies that don’t normally patrol there.
Heavier traffic enforcement is planned in the afternoons in the general areas of north Everett, the intersection of I-5 and Highway 526 near Silver Lake, and I-405 between Lynnwood and Bothell.
In east county, the patrols will be east of Highway 9 in the north Lake Stevens area, the stretch of Highway 9 between Lake Stevens and Snohomish, and U.S. 2 in Monroe.
It’s not about tickets, Trooper Keith Leary said.
The troopers want people to see trouble spots saturated with enforcement and people getting the message: “‘You know, I better slow down,’” Leary said.
Sometimes, drivers get used to taking the same routes and get complacent about speed, Leary said. The new patrols are meant to be a serious wake-up call.
Lower speeds would mean fewer wrecks, and fewer deaths, Rudeen said. That also translates to smoother commutes and fewer backups.
Everett police are excited to work with neighboring agencies to address speed problems in the city, Sgt. Ryan Dalberg said.
“We have a lot of concerns just because of the amount of traffic, the amount of pedestrian traffic and the sheer congestion of traffic that we’re seeing,” he said.
The new program is designed to track data over time, Leary said. Traffic patterns and driver habits change, so police need to do their homework and adjust to be effective.
Every time there’s a fatal wreck, they have to ask themselves how it could have been prevented, Leary said. Speeders are considered “at-risk” drivers for serious crashes.
“We don’t just come out here and treat it like a fishing pond and fill our bucket and go home every day,” he said.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org