Rob McKenna, our state’s attorney general, sent out a press
release today warning of the dangers of texting and driving, and
announcing a public service advertising campaign to try to curb it.
I have to applaud the effort, but I don’t know how they came up
with some of the stats they threw in there.
Here’s the best one. “Research has shown that using a cell phone
delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol
concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.” That’s from Peggy
Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council, which is also in on
the campaign. That would be some interesting research. You could
have a drunk guy driving one car and a person on a phone driving
the other, then run out in front of them and see who stops the
fastest. I suppose it would hurt about the same no matter who hit
you. If drunk driving and cell phone driving are equally dangerous,
I would think texting and driving would be worse than drunk
Here are some more stats from the press release. Eighty-two
percent of young adult drivers have read a text message while
driving. They consider young to be 16 to 24 years old. Seventy-five
percent have sent a text message while driving and 49 percent have
done it many times.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is
also participating in the campaign, says distracted driving is the
No. 1 killer of American teens. Sixteen percent of drivers younger
than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been
distracted while driving.
Here’s another one I wonder how they figured out. A texting
driver, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, is
23 times more likely to be in a crash than a non-texting driver.
Their message is clear: “Stop the tests and stop the wrecks.”
They have set up a website at www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org where
teens can find facts about the impact of texting while driving, see
tips for how to curb the behavior and share their thoughts.
That saying’s on front of T-shirts Washington State Ferries is
selling to celebrate its 60th anniversary and help pay operating
costs. There’s also a shirt that shows all the different kinds of
boatss in the fleet. I can’t believe they didn’t start hawking
stuff years ago. All the stores do it, but not WSF itself.
WSF and its advertising and marketing company, Trans4media, have
launched FerryGear.com where official ferry merchandise is for
sale. Besides T-shirts, there’s a glass mug, lapel pin, aluminum
water bottle and baseball caps, all with WSF logos. And, one I
don’t quite get, spice rub from famed restauranteur Tom Douglas.
They say its one state icon getting together with another.
It looks like decent-quality stuff, not touristy trinkets, but
I’m going to wait for the bobble-head dolls.
A Washington State Department of Transportation project won the
People’s Choice Award in a national competition by the American
Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. It got
the most clicks out of 40 projects. The award comes with $10,000
for charity or an academic scholarship program of the agency’s
choice. It’s pretty timely considering my kid will be heading off
to college soon and I’m sure they’d like to help me out a
A Florida interchange rebuild won the Grand Prize voted on by a
panel of transportation experts. The projects had to finish ahead
of schedule, under budget and use innovative strategies.
In the I-5 project, the state worked with federal, state,
military and local leaders to improve congestion through the area.
It seems like in five years that stretch went from free-flowing to
guaranteed bumper-to-bumper. There’s not really anything there to
cause it, either. I guess there’s just too many cars for the amount
of pavement, in no small part because of the growth of Fort
Interchanges at the military gates were improved with better
alignment and better-timed traffic signals, gates that weren’t
being used were opened, and they started deploying
incident-response units more quickly.
Guess who’s the executive director of AASHTO. Five-term Kitsap
County commissioner John Horsley.
Do you know that every year more than 1,100 vehicle-wildlife
collisions are reported in Washington state, and that now is prime
That’s according to a press release from the NW Insurance
Council, which would really like for you to buy some comprehensive
coverage. That way, if your car sustains some of the annual $3.6
billion nationally in deer damage, you’ll only have to pay the
deductible. Deer-damage claims average $3,100.
It says as the weather gets colder, deer migrate from the
mountains and dart across roads. More deer-vehicle accidents happen
between October and December than any other time of year. Not only
does hitting deer mar your car, it can hurt you. The collisions
injure nearly 1,200 people annually in the state and kill two.
There are 200 deaths nationwide.
The press release says to be especially attentive from sunset to
midnight and just before and after sunrise when the critters move
around the most. And that if you see one, there are probably others
I’ve never hit a deer, though one jumped over the hood of my car
once. My brother did, but that was in the wilds of Jefferson
County. A big buck put a licking on his Suburban. Put the beast out
of commission. The Suburban, I mean. The deer ran into the
I have seen several deer along the road the past few months,
dead and alive. I was just reading that the Department of
Transportation removes 3,500 deer and elk carcasses from Washington
state highways every year. In western Washington, the busiest
places are Whidbey Island, the Packwood-Randle area and North Bend.
Most of the time, they’re buried in designated disposal sites.
Sometimes freshly killed animals are given to local Indian
Boat builders are about ready to turn over the third and final
new 64-car ferry to Washington State Ferries.
The Kennewick, built by a consortium led by Vigor Shipyards, is
at Everett Shipyard this week for final outfitting and testing. It
began sea trials late last week. Vigor will demonstrate the vessel
to Washington State Ferries and the Coast Guard on Wednesday
through Friday, and the state is tentatively scheduled to accept it
from Vigor by the end of the month.
Then there’ll be several weeks of post-delivery sea trials and
crew familiarization before the Kennewick goes into service in
January. It will be assigned to the Port Townsend-Coupeville route,
not Point Defiance-Tahlequah, as many expected. The Chetzemoka and
Salish had both been assigned to Port Townsend through the peak
season, which ends Monday (Oct. 10). The Salish will stay while the
Chetzemoka, which has been operating since November 2010,
goes into dry dock for maintenance, repairs and modifications.
When the Kennewick stars running in January, the Salish will
become the backup boat. The Chetzemoka will replace the 48-car,
64-year-old Rhododendron at Point Defiance. They’re doing it that
way because the Salish and Kennewick are more identical with parts
and crews easily interchangeable. In particular, they both have
variable-pitch propulsion systems that make it easier to get into
Keystone Harbor while the Chetzemoka doesn’t.
That makes some sense. The only thing that seems weird is Port
Townsend pushed so hard to get the Chetzemoka named for a famous
Indian chief there, and now the boat won’t be there.
Washington State Ferries said the 64-car ferries are coming in
ahead of schedule and under budget. The budget is $213.2 million
for the three of them.
WSF and Vigor should also be close to finishing negotiations on
the price of the first 144-car ferry.
People who ride public transportation tend to have lower incomes
than those who commute by car, but not here and in a few other
places around the country.
The publication Atlantic Cities slogged through 2010 American
Community Survey data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau
and found five metro areas, including Bremerton-Silverdale, where
transit riders make a lot more. Here, the median income for those
who use public transportation is $52,946 compared to $35,371 for
those who drive.
It’s easy to see why. Kitsap Transit bus service is largely
geared toward serving riders of Washington State Ferries and Puget
Sound Naval Shipyard employees. That’s where the most demand is.
People who ride ferries to the east side of Puget Sound for work
generally make more than those who stay on this side. Shipyard
workers also earn above-average pay. They could get to the yard in
a half hour instead of an hour if they drove, but the bus ride is
free. The federal government pays. Many prefer to ride the bus for
nothing instead of driving in traffic, finding a parking spot,
paying for parking and walking to their shops. The buses drop them
off inside the shipyard.
Other metro areas where public transit riders earn more than car
drivers are like Bremerton-Silverdale in that many people commute
to bigger cities for high-paying jobs. They are Torrington Conn.
($82,431 vs. $41,450), Kingston, N.Y. ($60,748 vs. $35,289) and
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, N.Y. ($56,351 vs. $41,462).
Just the opposite is true in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Workers there
travel away from the city. That’s because the Idaho National
Laboratory, with 4,000 workers, is outside the town of Idaho Falls.
The lab has its own fleet of 103 buses. They haul about 2,750
passengers to the site and back each day.
It’s October, and that can only mean International Walk to
School Month. About 15,000 Washington students, parents, teachers
and community leaders from our state will participate. Many of the
events are part of the Safe Routes to School program. Bainbridge
Island, Poulsbo, Suquamish and I think Brownsville all got money
for sidewalks and paths. The grant program has awarded nearly $29
million to 90 communities since 2005.
Fifty-four Washington schools have events planned, though I
didn’t see any from our area. Nationwide, they’re expecting 3,200
schools from all 50 states to participate, joining walkers from 40
After a day of people watching at the Puyallup Fair, there’s no
secret we need to do more walking and riding. I don’t know what the
rules are, but they should be that anybody who lives within a mile
of their school needs to hoof it. No buses. Parents should only
drive them if the weather makes it unsafe.
I’m one to talk. It didn’t take my kid long to get tired of
walking to the bus stop, which was maybe 400 yards away, and I
wound up driving him to school most of the time. Everybody did it.
The parking lot was jam packed. People created a traffic jam every
day trying to get in there.
I lived so far away from school I never had a chance to walk.
Would’ve taken me hours, except for a few months when we moved to
Bellevue. Then the school, Tillicum Junior High, was half a block
up the street. Pretty sweet. Most of the time I lived in the lone
house up a half-mile dirt driveway, so just getting back and forth
to the bus stop was pretty good exercise. In the winter when it was
dark in the morning and dark at night it could also be pretty
So get out and walk, and I’ll try to do the same.