Almost 750 people were killed in vehicle accidents across our state in 2022. That’s the highest number in the past 30 years. Are you concerned? You should be if you or your loved ones travel on our public roads.
Our rise in the fatality rate is one of the highest in the nation. Gov. Jay Inslee and some fellow elected officials think the answer is to make new restrictive laws. No more right turns after stopping at a red light. (Wait. Don't those turns help prevent traffic jams? Don't they help keep our state green as a stopped car puts out much more carbon pollution?)
They want to stop jaywalking. They want to lower the legal blood alcohol content level, which sounds great, but ask a cop how many drunk drivers they stop now with a blood alcohol content below .08%. Most often, stopped drivers are well above 1.0%. Is this another knee-jerk, feel-good law that won't yield desired results?
Other restrictive laws will be considered and put forth, mostly because lawmakers can say, “Look at me, look at what I have done for you.”
What Inslee and company don't seem to talk about, and really don't want you talking about, is that these fatalities may have more to do with the fact your police departments have fewer officers on the road then they have in decades.
If you look at the new anti-police, pro-criminal laws that were put into effect in the last couple years, in addition to the firing of hundreds of police officers over their refusal to get vaccinated, added to the defund/dismantle the police movement, and you start to see the real problem and the real solution to our runaway fatality rate.
There are not enough cops.
I recently drove from Chehalis to Bellingham, about a 320-mile round trip. I saw exactly zero police cars on Interstate 5. I drive to Olympia or Longview weekly. That’s a 60-mile round trip. On one out of six trips, I'll see a patrol car.
It's no secret. It's all over the news daily that the cops can’t chase you for traffic violations, not even stolen cars.
Some counties, including our own and Thurston County, have enacted no pursuit policies for DUIs, even though state law allows it.
While I don't agree with those policies, I understand the concerns sheriffs have for liability issues if a pursuit goes south.
Speeding, red light and stop sign violations, falling to yield and most other traffic laws can be committed in front of a cop who can't chase you if you decide to just flip them off and speed off.
On top of the new proposals by Inslee, advocates for more equity in the transportation system, would ban police stops for low-level offenses, both traffic and criminal, which are "believed to disproportionately affect people of color."
Do you want safer roads or feel-good progressive laws that put feelings over lives?
I don't think you can have both. Get our cops back on the roads. Take off their cuffs and put them on the criminals. Hold criminals accountable. The traffic deaths will go down. The social experiment did not work.