Washington state is serious about keeping roads safe.
The state Traffic Safety Commission funded overtime hours for law enforcement agencies statewide in May during a Click-it or Ticket patrol emphasis campaign.
While the focus of the traffic stops was for enforcing seat-belt use laws, agencies including the Sequim Police found themselves writing tickets and making arrests for far more serious crimes including drug arrests, warrant arrests and driving while under the influence.
Sequim Police really had some high numbers for the area. They were very productive with those overtime hours, said Julie Furlong, spokeswoman for the commission.
Sequim Police made 143 stops during the several-week-long event, the majority of the 204 stops made in Clallam County. Only Sequim Police and Washington State Patrol engaged in the Click-it or Ticket campaign in the county, while the Clallam County Safety Task Force helped coordinate the program.
Oftentimes other agencies make an effort to join the campaign but are unable to because of staffing concerns, Furlong said, indicating the hours dedicated to the campaign are above and beyond regular patrol hours.
Also, the program hinges on at least two officers engaging drivers at once, a spotter and a patrol unit. The spotter looks for drivers without a seat belt and calls in a traffic stop to the patrol unit farther down the road. All patrols for the campaign occurred after 7 p.m.
Statewide, law enforcement made 11,146 contacts with motorists. A recent analysis by the commission showed the Click-it or Ticket campaign appears to be helping reduce deaths on Washington roadways.
During 2007, nighttime vehicle occupant deaths averaged 13 percent lower than during the previous 10 years, despite an overall population increase. Daytime fatalities went down 21 percent.
We know that people are more likely to die in a severe crash at night because we have a lot of dangerous drivers taking risks out on our roadways, including those who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, said Lowell Porter, Washington Traffic Safety Commission director.
Statewide, officers made 65 drunken driving arrests, 68 other alcohol-related arrests and 71 drug arrests, six of which were for impaired driving.
For more information about the Traffic Safety Commission, visit www.wtsc.wa.gov. The Sequim Police Web site is accessible through the city of Sequims site, www.ci.sequim.wa.us or the agency can be contacted by phone at 683-7227 for non-emergency issues.
Sequim Police Click-it or Ticket results for the several-week-long campaign in May include:
• 143 traffic stops
• 56 seatbelt infractions issued
• 28 citations for speeding
• Two aggressive driving citations
• One driving while under the influence arrest
• Two drug-related arrests
• Two criminal arrests
• Three misdemeanor warrant arrests
• Two suspended or revoked licenses arrests
• Five uninsured motorist citations
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
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