Despite seeing an increase in deadly traffic accidents, Washington state officials are issuing fewer traffic tickets than in previous years, even after pandemic-related measures were lifted and traffic returned to near-normal levels.
As officials blame staffing shortages, there are many other factors that have helped to keep the number of tickets low, including a shift in how law enforcement agents approach minor infractions. As agencies try to navigate the current issues and search for a solution, transportation and traffic safety advocates urge government officials to focus on infrastructure and related improvements so that Washington drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists do not have to depend solely on law enforcement to stay safe.
Agencies Don’t Have Enough Troopers To Enforce Traffic Safety Rules
According to The Seattle Times, December 2021 saw fewer traffic infractions than in any month in the previous two years, with the exception of April 2020. Likewise, the number of troopers and law enforcement agents across all state agencies has also declined. The Yakima Police Department’s traffic unit alone saw a 75% decrease in its staff, while the Everett Police Department has one motorcycle officer in traffic safety, down from four.
As agencies such as the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and others struggle to retain and recruit officers, these numbers could remain low for a longer period of time. For drivers, that means that the increasing number of deadly traffic collisions could continue to be a problem into 2022.
Safety Advocates: Infrastructure Will Help Prevent Traffic Accidents
To advocates of traffic safety, better pedestrian infrastructure is what will make traffic collisions less likely to occur. In order to make it happen, however, many advocates believe that Washington government officials should stop focusing so much on enforcement and start looking at more lasting solutions.
With pedestrian fatalities on the rise, safety advocates want to make it difficult for drivers to speed. By tackling infrastructure plans that make that happen, these advocates say, government officials will no longer have to rely solely on enforcement to boost traffic safety.
As personal injury attorneys, we are well aware of the challenges pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers face. We hope that both infrastructure projects and more enforcement will help make the roads in the Evergreen state safer for everyone.
For more on what these advocates are saying, follow this link.