Local Highways Don’t Get Special Attention, Trooper Says

The in basket: Don Bolles of Bremerton asks, “Why does the State Patrol set up speed traps along Highway 3 near Port Orchard and before Gig Harbor?  When I drive, I drive with my cruise control set at 65 so have never had a problem.  BUT when I’ve driven on I-5 for several trips to the city, if I don’t drive near 70 I’m blown by by many vehicles.  I haven’t seen a State Patrol car on I-5 in eight or ten trips on the highway between Tacoma and Seattle.  Are they using Highway 3 for training or to get the easy prey (young military guys, etc.)


The in basket: Don Bolles of Bremerton asks, “Why does the State Patrol set up speed traps along Highway 3 near Port Orchard and before Gig Harbor?  When I drive, I drive with my cruise control set at 65 so have never had a problem.  BUT when I’ve driven on I-5 for several trips to the city, if I don’t drive near 70 I’m blown by by many vehicles.  I haven’t seen a State Patrol car on I-5 in eight or ten trips on the highway between Tacoma and Seattle.  Are they using Highway 3 for training or to get the easy prey (young military guys, etc.)
The out basket: Don’s question echoes those of Steve Teichner and Merlin Wulf  in a Road Warrior in April of 2004. All think more attention is paid Kitsap County highways than I-5 by the State Patrol.
Brian George of the Bremerton WSP office says, “The state patrol continues to deploy troopers based on collisions and calls for service.  The Poulsbo detachment of the WSP, which is responsible for Kitsap County highways, strives to maintain a constant presence along the main highways in the county (mainly SR 3 and SR 16). 
“I can’t speak for other areas of the patrol, but the troopers who work in Kitsap County understand that our greatest concentration of collisions happen along SR 3 and SR 16.  These two highways continue to generate the majority of our citizen reports of reckless, intoxicated and unsafe driving. 
They spend a lot of time on Highway 307, Bond Road, too, based on the accident history.
State Patrol headquarters in Olympia chose not to address the question of differences in enforcement effort in 2004, but referred me to a spokesman for the Pierce County detachment, who provided statistics showing hundreds of traffic stops on I-5 in that county every month, more than a fourth of them getting a speeding citation. But even there, there are disparities in enforcement from one area of I-5 to another, depending on accident history.
And a King County WSP spokesman said troopers there are often too busy with collision investigation to do much speed enforcement on I-5. The sheer level of congestion and absence of shoulders in places make patrols difficult.
Lastly, that trooper said, airplane-supported emphasis patrols use lots of cars in a small area, giving the impression a more intense effort by the patrol. Use of airplanes is fairly common on SR 3 and 16, he said, but less so in King County, again due to heavier congestion.

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