By Sergeant Darren Wright, Washington State Patrol, Public Information Officer, July 1, 2021.
Beginning Friday, July 2nd, the Washington State Patrol will join our colleagues from the states traversed by Interstate 5 (I-5) in a traffic safety campaign aptly named “I-5 Alive.”
Focused on speeding drivers, California, Oregon, and Washington will launch a coordinated education and enforcement effort, aimed at making the 1,381 miles of I-5 safer for all summer travelers.
Troopers from the Washington State Patrol (WSP) will join officers of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the Oregon State Police (OSP) and be especially watchful for traffic violations that often lead to tragedy on the highways.
Speed and distracted driving top the list, along with driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol and failing to use safety belts and child safety seats.
“Speed continues to be a leading killer on our roadways. Combined with distracted driving, it is even more deadly,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said.
He went on to say, “We know people are eager to get out and travel, but reckless driving will not get you there sooner – it will just create dangerous conditions for you and everyone else on the road.”
WSP saw a 27% increase in Aggressive Driving contacts between May of 2019 and May of 2020. May 2021 saw 9,078 WSP/driver contacts alone, a slight drop from 2020 but still substantially higher than pre-pandemic years.
CHP saw citations for speeds in excess of 100 mph increase drastically during the early days of the pandemic, from 1,331 citations statewide in May 2019 to 3,480 in May 2020. An increase of 261 percent.
OSP reports similar increases in speeding citations which correlates to increasing rates of roadway danger.
“Speeding continues to be one of the highest contributing factors to serious injury crashes and fatalities,” stated Oregon State Police Superintendent Terri Davie.
She continued, “Speeding tickets are easily the most common ticket issued;however, it isn’t the goal of law enforcement. The goal of speed enforcement is to potentially save your life and the lives of others.”
“Summer holidays should be a time of fun and family, not sorrow and tragedy,” Chief John R. Batiste of the WSP said.
He concluded, “We ask everyone driving the I-5 corridor to slow down, pay attention, drive sober, and buckle up. When it comes to safe highways, we are truly all in this together.”