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WSP Uses Air Traffic Tech To Help Prevent Speeding Crashes

As western Washington sees an increase in cases of street racing, officials worry about the potential risks. To help avoid accidents and keep criminals from fleeing the police, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) is surveilling the roads from the air. Last week, WSP aided King County officials in four arrests thanks to its surveillance team. 

When discussing the program with news outlets, WSP’s Communications Director Chris Loftis explained how WSP’s Aviation Section aids law enforcement patrols.

“They [drivers] are not expecting it at all, they had no idea they’re being surveilled from the air,” he said. 

In order to help troopers on the ground, pilots follow speeding vehicles from above, relaying their position to deputies. Additionally, WSP’s planes can register speeds with precision and search specific vehicle history. 

Technology In Service Of Traffic Safety

As Washington traffic officials worry that speeding has become more commonplace in the past few years, they worry about the increase in auto accidents across the state. 

With the help of this technology, officials are able to better identify speeding drivers, giving law enforcement agents on the ground the ability to prevent accidents. During high-speed pursuits, air surveillance is extremely helpful, Lofties added.

“When we discontinue these pursuits, they’re able to follow people from the air and we’re often able to capture folks,” he said.

Data Shows: Higher Speeds Lead To More Auto Accidents

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 29% of all fatal traffic accidents nationwide in 2020 occurred in speed-related accidents. 

High speeds are often major factors in auto accidents and speeding has been a common factor behind the increase in auto accidents in Washington. 

When drivers speed, they are oftentimes unable to stop or slow down in time to avoid potential collisions. When law enforcement agencies use technology to help enforce the law and identify speeding vehicles, the IIHS added, that helps to boost traffic safety.

For more information on how the WSP is using surveillance technology to help prevent speeding vehicles, follow this link

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