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State law enforcement looks to X-out speeding

POULSBO — Speeders and impaired drivers, beware.

Washington State law enforcement agencies have announced a coordinated launch of ongoing, high visibility patrol efforts to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries in the state. The program, X-52, has the highest of aims: saving lives.

"Our goal is to have zero traffic fatalities on our roads, and X-52 will help get us there," said Lowell Porter, Director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) in a prepared statement last week. The WTSC, along with the Washington State Patrol (WSP) and the Washington State Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, is launching X-52 to decrease the number of crashes caused by impaired or speeding drivers.

The program will enhance patrols and traffic monitoring tools throughout the state.

State routes 305 and 307 will be including in the extended monitoring.

Law enforcement agencies will work together at specific locations where impaired driving and speeding are prevalent, a cohesive strategy that was successful in a pilot project enforcing speeding laws in Pierce and Snohomish Counties in 2007.

Public education will be strong throughout the state, conducted by Traffic Safety and DUI Task Force coordinators and WSP's public information officers. Their message will be simple: If you choose to drive impaired or speed, these patrols are designed to catch you.

"Drunk drivers don't just kill on holidays. They destroy families every single week of the year," said WSP chief John Batiste in a WTSC press release. "Washington drivers should all know that if they get behind the wheel after drinking, or are driving too fast, extra patrols will be looking for them every week, not just during holiday peaks."

WSP's extra patrols are funded through a grant from the WTSC, as are local law enforcement's patrols. Sheriffs' offices, police departments and Tribal Nations are receiving $450,000 in extra federal funding for X-52 enforcement.

Research has shown that increasing patrols, and publicizing extra patrols, can reduce alcohol-involved crashes.

"X-52 is an unprecedented statewide, coordinated effort," said Don Pierce, Executive Director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. "Local law enforcement agencies across the state want to work together and with Washington State Patrol to reduce roadway deaths."

X-52 is just one strategy being used to reduce fatal crashes as part of Target Zero, Washington's Strategic Highway Safety Plan with a goal of zero deaths and zero disabling injuries by 2030.

For additional information about the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, visit: www.wtsc.wa.gov.

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