Washington state troopers conduct emphasis patrols near Pullman

Troopers stopped about 152 drivers stopped; no serious injuries reported

Washington+State+Department+of+Transportation+used+message+signs+to+encourage+safe+driving+behaviors+on+the+way+to+Pullman.

COURTESY OF WSDOT

Washington State Department of Transportation used message signs to encourage safe driving behaviors on the way to Pullman.

ALEX MCCOLLUM, Evergreen reporter

Washington state troopers made 152 traffic stops while conducting emphasis patrols on the highways to Pullman as students moved back to campus between Aug. 12-15.

Troopers from Washington State Patrol districts four and six focused their time on State Route 26, as well as other highways, said Jeff Sevigney, WSP District Four public information officer. State Route 26 runs east to west from Colfax to Vantage, Washington.

While the main offices for these districts are in Spokane and Wenatchee, the troopers came from smaller detachment offices in Moses Lake and Colfax to conduct the emphasis patrols, Sevigney said. 

Troopers watched for reckless, impaired and distracted driving, he said. Speed was the most common traffic violation troopers found, according to an early WSP report.

Speed is also still the number one cause of injury and fatal collisions in Washington state, Sevigney said.

No fatal collisions occurred during the patrols, and troopers investigated only one collision where property damage occurred, he said. There were no serious injuries reported.

The Washington State Department of Transportation also placed message signs along the highways to Pullman, with reminders for Cougars to drive safely. The signs flashed messages like “Rest Area Ahead – Awesome Place to Chill” and “Drive Safe Cougs – To Find Our Way Home.”

WSDOT has placed these signs along the highways for the past several years in times of heightened traffic to and from Pullman. Sevigney said he believes the signs help in reducing the number of reckless drivers.

While Highway 26 is not any more dangerous than other rural two-lane highways, heightened traffic and bad weather conditions can increase the likelihood of collisions, he said.

“Driving to Pullman in August is a lot different than driving to and from Pullman in December, January or February,” Sevigney said.

Drivers should always adjust their speed to the weather conditions, he said.

The state patrol’s goal was that everyone got to Pullman safely, and WSP feels it accomplished that, Sevigney said.

Fewer traffic violations occurred within Pullman, said Pullman Police Cmdr. Jake Opgenorth. Most violations were related to minor collisions involving parked cars. 

One driver hit a car on Grand Avenue and left a note on Aug. 13, Opgenorth said. Another hit a car then left a note on McGee Way on Aug. 15.

A car reportedly drove 80 miles per hour on State Route 270 on Aug. 14, but officers were unable to locate it, according to a Pullman PD daily log. State Route 270 runs from east to west from Moscow to Pullman.