State honors Sequim, Clallam for traffic safety

The Washington State Traffic Safety Commission congratulated North Olympic Peninsula law enforcement agencies during an April 17 ceremony for taking significant steps toward attaining zero fatalities and disabling collisions in the area.

Each year the commission recognizes outstanding citizens and organizations that go beyond their job duties and make necessary contributions, changes and improvements that affect safety on Washington’s roads. This year’s ceremony at the Worthington Center at St. Martin’s University in Lacey marks the commission’s 24th year of recognition ceremonies.

The judges recognized a cooperative effort among the Washington State Patrol, the state Department of Transportation, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office and other area law enforcement providers, the Driving 101 — It’s Basic Safety project, as a winner in 2008.

The traffic corridor safety project was born from discussions to mitigate against fatal or disabling collisions along U.S. Highway 101. There were nine deaths on the highway between Christmas Day 2003 and the end of January 2004, which spurred the discussions.

Officials embarked on a public outreach awareness and law enforcement effort while reviewing options for engineering improvements. The combination of enforcement, engineering and education worked well together, reducing the number of collisions, injuries and fatalities. The public also began to wear seat belts at a higher rate.

Now the tactic of encouraging the three E’s of traffic mitigation is widespread throughout the state. The city of Sequim enacted a similar system for its city roads, a program also recognized by judges at the ceremony.

Prior to 2006, the Sequim Police Department failed to uniformly prioritize traffic enforcement, had no organized structure for addressing traffic safety and failed to have a data-driven approach to acting on traffic data.

The department developed a multiyear strategic plan in order to address the gap in service, which was approved by the Sequim City Council in 2007 and is available under the police section on the city’s Web site,

The plan became part of the state’s ambitious project titled Project Zero, which calls for the number of traffic-related fatalities and disabling injuries to reach zero by 2030.

As a result, the department has increased driving while intoxicated arrests by 100 percent. The project was so successful that Sequim Police created Target Zero in a Box, a toolkit to share with other law enforcement agencies to show what this department successfully has accomplished.

The judging panel was made up by a multidisciplinary team of traffic safety professionals from the state and national levels, including the Washington State Department of Transportation, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Washington State Patrol, Traffic Safety Task Force Coordinators and media professionals.

The traffic safety awards categorized award objectives with data on impaired driving, speed-related collisions, occupant protection, run-off-road collisions, intersection collisions and traffic data systems.

For additional information about the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, visit

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