OLYMPIA – On Wednesday, April 18, 2012, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) honored three Snohomish County traffic safety professionals and teams for their outstanding contributions to traffic safety. The ceremony took place at the Lacey Community Center in Lacey, WA.
For more than 25 years, the WTSC has recognized outstanding citizens who go beyond their job duties and make necessary contributions, changes, and improvements that affect everyone’s safety on our roads.
The Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office was recognized for their contributions in the Speeding-Involved Crashes category. They improved processes to ensure speeding infractions and DUIs were processed quickly and upheld or “committed” and not dismissed in court. Before these improvements, the baseline finding for “committed” on traffic infractions was 12% which meant 88% of all traffic infractions were dismissed in court. Since the improvements, the “committed” rate was 58% in 2010 and 70% in 2011. The court assessed $1,137,417 in fines on those infractions.
The Snohomish County Law Enforcement Officers participating in the Target Zero Teams were recognized for their contributions in the Impaired Driving category. Starting in July of 2010, Target Zero Teams were strategically placed in Snohomish, King and Pierce County. The mission of Target Zero Teams is to eliminate impaired driving fatality and serious injury crashes by arresting the maximum number of impaired drivers in locations known for high numbers of crashes and fatalities. City, county, and state law enforcement agencies throughout the participating counties work together as part of the Target Zero Teams conducting special dedicated emphasis patrols throughout the year. These multi-jurisdictional DUI enforcement teams have proven to be extremely effective. Traffic deaths decreased an average of 29% during the first 12 months of the project in all three counties.
Snohomish County Target Zero Team Planning Committee
The Planning Committee for the Target Zero Teams in Snohomish County was given a Special Director’s Award. Target Zero Teams is a high visibility data-driven, targeted DUI enforcement project. Before this project began, the planning committee analyzed five years of data to determine the locations where the most DUIs occur, and the locations where the most DUI-related crashes occur. This determined where the Target Zero Teams would concentrate their enforcement efforts. In the first year of the project, the Target Zero Teams are credited with saving 70 lives. Many obstacles were overcome to have so many law enforcement agencies working as one team. This award honors the people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help make this project so successful.
The WTSC honored many different winners in 2012. These include law enforcement personnel, business leaders, engineers, citizen activists, traffic safety volunteers, educators, government leaders, and media professionals. Each of these various community leaders worked for one common goal – to find ways to reduce traffic-related injuries and deaths in Washington.
The WTSC conducts this bi-annual statewide awards program to honor the achievements of people working to make our state’s roadways safer, including the 4 Es: Enforcement, Education, Engineering and Emergency Medical Services.
The Traffic Safety Awards Program mirrored Washington’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan: Target Zero, which was approved by Governor Gregoire in 2007 and updated in 2010. Target Zero is Washington’s plan to eliminate traffic deaths in the state by the year 2030. The award categories match the objectives in Priority One and Priority Two levels of Target Zero—Impaired Driving, Run-Off-Road Collisions, Speeding-Involved Collisions, Young Drivers, Unrestrained Occupants, Distracted Drivers, Intersection Collisions, and Traffic Data Systems.
Nomination forms were distributed throughout the state and more than 50 nominations were judged by a multi-disciplinary team of traffic safety professionals from the state and national levels including Washington State Department of Transportation, Washington State Department of Health, Washington State Patrol, Target Zero Task Force Managers, and media professionals. A total of 36 individual and group awards were given out at Wednesday’s event.
At the ceremony, a video was shown with interviews and footage showcasing the outstanding work of each individual or group winner. These videos will be posted on the WTSC Vimeo channel and available for viewing sometime next week. Winners received an engraved award and a certificate, and a professional photographer took digital photos of the event. A copy of each winner’s photo can be found at www.flickr.com/trafficsafety.
The WTSC recognizes that it takes innovative, hard-working people all throughout the state to save lives and reduce injuries on the roads we travel every day. The WTSC is proud to honor these dedicated individuals and showcase their efforts and results. Their nomination forms are available for your review upon request.