State police agencies target speeders during next three weeks

You’re more likely to get killed in a traffic accident involving speed in King County than anywhere else in the state.

That’s probably not surprising, given the county’s population and traffic load. Counting 2004 through 2008, speeding killed 246 people in King County, or 21 percent of the state’s total.

Beginning Friday for three weeks, about half of the state’s roughly 300 police agencies began taking part in the first-ever emphasis patrol targeting predetermined areas where speed is a known problem.

The statewide campaign is called Slow Down or Pay Up.

Statewide, about 40 percent of all traffic deaths involve speed. The fine for speeding depends on the speed.

The emphasis patrols are not a “sneak attack,” said the director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, which is providing the participating agencies with about $450,000 to pay for the extra patrols.

The campaign through May 1 is not about writing tickets, but about raising public awareness and changing behavior, said the director, Lowell Porter.

“If we can get the public’s support, we know we can save lives,” Porter said in an interview.

The extra patrols are on duty during the times when speeding is likely to occur, according to data: 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Fridays, and noon to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

“You are going to see a significant number of officers working in cars,” Porter said.

Speeding is the number one factor in fatal crashes involving teen drivers or motorcycle riders in Washington. And, according to the commission, the faster you drive, the more likely you are to die or become seriously injured in an accident.

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