A sign along US Highway 101 recording the number of days since a serious collision from Sequim to Port Angeles was taken down last week after it fell into disrepair. Photo courtesy of Washington State Patrol

A sign along US Highway 101 recording the number of days since a serious collision from Sequim to Port Angeles was taken down last week after it fell into disrepair. Photo courtesy of Washington State Patrol

State Patrol takes down collision report sign

Trooper says disrepair cause of removal

After 14-plus years posted as a cautionary tale to drivers between Sequim and Port Angeles, the collision awareness sign near the Washington State Patrol’s Port Angeles office came down last week.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Chelsea Hodgson reported on Feb. 6 that the “Driving 101: It’s Basic Safety” digital collision sign came down sometime between Feb. 5-6 after breaking outside the State Patrol’s office off U.S. Highway 101.

The sign was one of two in the state recording collisions since 2006.

Grant funding paid for the sign, Hodgson said, which has long run out.

“Over the years, the sign has fallen into disrepair to the point where it would have needed to be completely replaced,” she said.

Area law enforcement officials gather on Dec. 18, 2006, to applaud the longest period without a serious collision in the U.S. Highway 101 safety corridor since the safety program began two years prior. From left are Washington State Patrol Lt. Clint Casebolt, Clallam County Sheriff Joe Martin, Bill Riley, Washington State Patrol maintenance and operations superintendent; Maris Turner, Sequim Police Department public information officer; Sequim Police Chief Bob Spinks, and Port Angeles Police Chief Tom Riepe. Sequim Gazette file photo by Ariel Hansen

Area law enforcement officials gather on Dec. 18, 2006, to applaud the longest period without a serious collision in the U.S. Highway 101 safety corridor since the safety program began two years prior. From left are Washington State Patrol Lt. Clint Casebolt, Clallam County Sheriff Joe Martin, Bill Riley, Washington State Patrol maintenance and operations superintendent; Maris Turner, Sequim Police Department public information officer; Sequim Police Chief Bob Spinks, and Port Angeles Police Chief Tom Riepe. Sequim Gazette file photo by Ariel Hansen

At the time of installation, troopers said it served as a reminder for drivers to keep safe by tallying the number of days since a serious injury collision occurred. After each serious collision, the sign was reset to zero by troopers.

It was installed sometime in 2006 near the west intersection of Old Olympic Highway and U.S. Highway 101 on the north side.

The sign was posted as part of a safety corridor project spanning about 32 miles from the Jefferson/Clallam County line at milepost 274.65 on the eastside to the Highway 101/112 intersection at milepost 242.61 on the westside.

The corridor project began in Dec. 2004 after a number fatal and serious injury collisions came to the attention of local and state leaders. From Christmas 2003-Dec. 2004, there were 19 motorists and passengers killed in collisions on the 32-mile stretch.

A Junior ROTC officer hangs ornaments listing names of local car crash victims at a “Driving 101: It’ s Basic Safety” campaign kickoff on Dec. 15, 2004. The project focused on a 32-mile stretch of US Highway 101 between the east border of Clallam and Jefferson counties to the US Highway 112 junction west of Port Angeles. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

A Junior ROTC officer hangs ornaments listing names of local car crash victims at a “Driving 101: It’ s Basic Safety” campaign kickoff on Dec. 15, 2004. The project focused on a 32-mile stretch of US Highway 101 between the east border of Clallam and Jefferson counties to the US Highway 112 junction west of Port Angeles. Sequim Gazette file photo by Michael Dashiell

The safety corridor project ended in 2007, news reports state.

A year later, members of the Sequim and Port Angeles chambers of commerce contested the sign because they felt it deterred business and was ugly.

However, law enforcement officials told them of the sign’s intent to keep people safe and the groups withdrew a request asking to take it down.

State Patrol data shows there were 12 fatalities and 22 serious injuries from Jan. 1, 2007-Feb. 1, 2020, stretching from milepost 250 to 264.

In place since 2006 in front of the Washington State Patrol Port Angeles office, the “Driving 101: It’s Basic Safety” sign was intended to bring awareness to drivers as a “cautionary tale,” troopers said after its installation. Sequim Gazette file photo

In place since 2006 in front of the Washington State Patrol Port Angeles office, the “Driving 101: It’s Basic Safety” sign was intended to bring awareness to drivers as a “cautionary tale,” troopers said after its installation. Sequim Gazette file photo

Washington State Patrol data shows that between mileposts 250-264 there were 12 fatalities and 22 serious injuries between January 2007 and the early February 2020. Image courtesy of Washington State Patrol

Washington State Patrol data shows that between mileposts 250-264 there were 12 fatalities and 22 serious injuries between January 2007 and the early February 2020. Image courtesy of Washington State Patrol

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