A number of serious traffic collisions and deaths have occurred over the past few years, yet the City lacks a trained collision investigator to handle such calls. The City has relied on other law enforcement agencies to come in to take over these complex investigations, often causing the other agency to expend overtime dollars. The City has been unable to fund a traffic position in this budget, and in past budgets, due to fiscal restraints. 
In Washington State, motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of unintentional injury death (after poisonings), and the leading cause of major trauma. Motor vehicle injuries are largely preventable and are mainly due to human behavior rather than poor road design, vehicle issues, or weather.
According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), driver and occupant behavior is responsible for the majority of all motor vehicle crashes. WTSC’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (Target Zero) reports that between 2009 and 2011, 71.4% of traffic fatalities involved driver impairment, speed, and/or run-off-the road collisions.

Total Accidents by Injury Type


Traffic Stops

While Police cannot stop every unsafe driver in the act of breaking a traffic law, they do strive to reduce fatalities through enforcement of traffic regulations. Studies have shown a link between enforcement of seatbelt laws and distracted driving can help.
The Police Department places special emphasis on neighborhood speeding (a leading citizen complaint), drivers failing to yield to school buses, and drivers under the influence.

Patrol Staffing Issues

The Department operates at the minimum police officer staffing levels the majority of the year. Pressures on staff are showing as increased response times, fewer traffic stops, and lower arrest statistics. 
A number of serious traffic collisions and deaths have occurred over the past few years, yet the City lacks a trained collision investigator to handle such calls. The City has relied on other law enforcement agencies to come in to take over these complex investigations, often causing the other agency to expend overtime dollars. The City has been unable to fund a traffic position in this budget, and in past budgets, due to fiscal restraints.