How WA State Patrol plans to reduce record road fatalities

Dec 13, 2022, 5:03 AM | Updated: 7:07 am
(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

What do you do if you don’t have enough police officers or troopers to change the driving behavior in a state that has experienced a 20-year high in fatalities? You use data to put those resources where they can do the most good.

In 2021, 670 people were killed on Washington’s roads from 602 crashes – a 20-year high. And the numbers are not going down. Through October, we are on pace to break that record in 2022. There were 580 fatal crashes in the first ten months of this year.

Demolition of cracking 520 project column to begin soon

How do you improve that? How do you stop impaired driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, and the other behaviors that lead to fatal crashes?

And how do you do that at a time when there are so few officers and troopers on the job?

Washington State Patrol (WSP) Sergeant Chelsea Hodgson said that’s where the “HiVE” patrols were born. “HiVE” stands for high visibility enforcement.

You look at the crash data, and you put as many resources in those spots as you can, stopping every violation you see. “We have the data now,” Sergeant Hodgson said. “Why not use it to the best we can to predict where these areas are going to be so we can try to stop it that way?”

The HiVE patrol was tested in Kitsap County, and the results were so promising the State Patrol took them state-wide last month. The patrols consist of state troopers and local police agencies that can join in. “It would be a four to six-hour window, and you saturate it with officers,” Sergeant Hodgson said. “We stop every collision-causing thing like following too close, speed, impaired driving, distracted driving. All of those things that lead to those awful tragedies that we want to stop.”

During two weekends in November, Pierce County arrested 15 drunk drivers. Snohomish County took five suspected drunk drivers off the road. Kitsap County? Another three suspected drunk drivers. There were a surprising number of seatbelt violations. Speeding was the most common violation.

More from Chris Sullivan: Real ID pushed back again as states struggle to comply

I don’t have all the numbers from across the state, but the State Patrol’s Chris Loftis said this is the best way to make our roads safer. “We’re going to be using data analytics to look at the best ways to mobilize our limited resources, so we have the biggest bang for the tax buck,” he said.

For Sergeant Hodgson, these patrols are about reminding all drivers that they all play a part in keeping our roads safe. “We need everyone to work together on this,” she said. “We need to make good choices behind the wheel to choose to drive safely.”

The statewide HiVE patrols return this Saturday and the final weekend of the year. The State Patrol data says these two weekends are some of the most dangerous of the year.

Check out more of Chris’ Chokepoints.


right turns...
Chris Sullivan

Will banning free right turns make our roads safer?

Is it time to get rid of free right turns on red? The Legislature is looking at ways to make streets safer.
1 day ago
I-90/SR 18 interchange...
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT breaks ground to fix one of worst chokepoints in WA

The state is finally breaking ground on a project addressing one of the worst chokepoints in the region between I-90 and SR 18.
3 days ago
speed cameras...
Chris Sullivan

Speed cameras on freeways? Seems like a quick way to make roads safer

We have them in school zones, and we have them at intersections, is it time to put speed cameras on the freeways to keep speeds down?
8 days ago
Chris Sullivan

WSDOT is hiring, but can it keep people from bolting for better pay?

The Washington Department of Transportation is back to pre-COVID-19 staffing levels, but can the agency keep those hires from leaving?
10 days ago
Chris Sullivan

Gas prices have been creeping up, but who’s responsible?

Gas prices are on the rise again in Washington, and it doesn't have anything to do with the war in Ukraine or supply issues in the U.S.
14 days ago
Everett I-5...
Chris Sullivan

Emergency repairs to close multiple I-5 lanes in Everett this weekend

State transit officials are going to close two of the three northbound I-5 lanes around Marine View Drive in Everett all weekend. 
15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
How WA State Patrol plans to reduce record road fatalities