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Pierce County Highways See Rise In Deadly Traffic Accidents

Traffic deaths are up in Pierce County, and officials worry the trend will make 2022 deadlier than the past two years. 

Data shows that in 2020, 28 people died in Pierce and Thurston counties while in 2021, the number had gone up to 38, a 36% increase. In 2022, officials believe that the numbers could skyrocket, especially considering that law enforcement registered five deaths in the first 16 days of February alone.

WSP: Drivers Are More Reckless, Less Courteous 

When asked what is contributing to the increase in the number of deadly traffic accidents, Washington State Patrol (WSP) officials said that during the pandemic, drivers began to drive more recklessly. In addition, they stopped using their blinkers when merging and tailgating became more commonplace.

With more drivers being more negligent on a regular basis, accidents also happen more often. But drivers should be aware that reckless driving has serious consequences. 

In Washington state, negligent driving alone can lead to a $550 fine while reckless driving will lead to an arrest, officials told news outlets. 

Distracted Driving On The Rise

In addition to reckless driving, officials said that distracted driving is contributing to the increase in traffic accidents across the state.

Related: Traffic Accidents Are Up In WA But Troopers Aren’t Issuing As Many Tickets

While investigations are ongoing, some of the latest reports of deadly accidents to hit the news involved drivers who failed to slow down or stop their vehicles when the traffic ahead of them slowed down. According to officials, this type of accident often happens when drivers are distracted by their phones.   

As a matter of fact, law enforcement agents say they are surprised at how many drivers they see using their phones. They believe distraction has significantly impacted the increase in the number of deadly accidents. 

How’s The WSP Planning On Fighting The Rise In Traffic Accidents?

In order to help prevent accidents, the WSP is focusing on impaired and distracted driving, speeding, and seat belt use. However, the WSP is aware that trooper shortage is an issue that must be addressed before many of its preventive programs can be put in place. 

The lack of available troopers means that the WSP is less proactive in its approach to fight the rise in accident rates. Until more troopers join the WSP, drivers across Washington must do their part to help prevent accidents.

In any case, the WSP vows to always be there to help when they are called. 

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