Pacific/Wahkiakum Counties - The Washington State Patrol has seen a significant reduction in the number of state route fatality collisions in Pacific and Wahkiakum counties over a four-year time period, working towards Target Zero, Washington State's goal of zero traffic fatalities by the year 2030.

After setting a record of zero fatality collisions on state highways within the two counties for over 17 months, there was one reported fatality collision during August 2008 in Pacific County on State Route 401 at S. Valley Road - where speed, DUI, and use of a seatbelt were not contributing factors. Wahkiakum County has not had a state route fatality collision since February 2006.

"The decrease in fatality collisions is a positive trend, but even one death is one too many," said Washington State Patrol Lieutenant Steve Smeland, "Troopers will continue to focus on collision causing violations which will hopefully drive the number of traffic deaths back down to zero in 2009."

In 2007, the WSP saw zero deaths on state highways within the two counties, a number significantly lower than the five reported in 2006 (two of those alcohol related), and six reported in 2005 (four of those alcohol related). Proactive speed and DUI enforcement has contributed to increased motorist safety and awareness in Pacific and Wahkiakum counties.

This decrease in fatalities can be attributed to a number of factors, notably the enforcement and proactive efforts of the detachment working out of the local Naselle office. Troopers assigned to the Naselle detachment contacted more than 8,000 speeding drivers in 2008, issuing tickets to more than 5,900 of them, with an enforcement rate of over 76 percent. Nearly 175 DUI arrests were made in Pacific and Wahkiakum counties by the eight troopers that make up the Naselle detachment.

In addition, troopers responded to 343 collisions, assisted more than 2,100 motorists, recovered five stolen vehicles, made more than 115 drug arrests, contacted 450 aggressive drivers, and issued 973 tickets to those not wearing their seatbelts.

Troopers will maintain their efforts throughout 2009, and work towards the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities. This will be done by continued focus on collision causing behavior such as impaired driving, speeding, and failure to use seatbelts.

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