Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Washington State Patrol (WSP) Issues More Speeding Tickets and Gets Award

Last week the AP picked up a story from the Southwest Washington Columbian newspaper about the WSP’s increased frequency of issuing speeding tickets to motorists in Washington.

Not only is the WSP issuing more traffic tickets, the WSP has incentives to do so: some of the money from ticket fines are used to fund the agency and the agency won an award from the International Association of Police Chiefs for the best state police agency of its size when the WSP’s speeding ticket total exceeded the total from the previous year.

Some interesting statistics found in the article:

* Snohomish County and Clark County have the highest number of tickets issued per mile on state and federal highways (it’s unclear whether these counties beat out other states or if state highways refer only to Washington)
* The WSP issued 280,000 speeding tickets in Washington in 2006, an increase of 55,000. These tickets are also only for speeding. These numbers do not include other types of traffic offenses and this number does not include the hundreds of thousands of tickets issued by municipal police departments and county sheriffs’ departments.
* In the first half of 2007, troopers issued more than 165,000 speeding tickets
* Although tickets are up, fatalities were up 23% on Washington highways in the first eleven months of 2007.
* Troopers in Asotin County, in the far southeast corner of the state, issued only 155 tickets for the first half of 2007.
* Spokane County ranks 7th highest among Washington counties for speeding tickets issued.
* Of all Washington counties, Adams County has the highest number of WSP speeding tickets per 100 residents.
* King County and Pierce County are in the bottom third of Washington counties for WSP speeding tickets when number of residents is considered.
* Motorists now receive speeding tickets in 60%-65% of traffic stops, up from 44%, a 36%-48% increase.
* The WSP is aggressively searching to fill 86 vacancies for its “field force” - the troopers who give traffic tickets to motorists.

The bottom line is that a higher number of speeding tickets means more more people will probably pay their tickets, resulting in increased insurance premiums and tarnished driving records.

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