OLYMPIA, WA – During the height of the pandemic, fewer people were traveling.
Travel experts say people who were on the road were speeding, driving in poor condition and not wearing seat belts.
“That’s been part of what we’ve seen in the pandemic,” said David Harkey with the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. “And we’ve seen that continue to be a problem as we’ve come out of the pandemic.”
According to Harkey, police presence and tactics need to be improved. Reduce the number of fatal accidents.
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“We need to do a better job at enforcement,” Harkey said. “Identifying the high crash areas and doing interventions that we know work.”
The latest data from the Department of Transportation estimates that there were only 31,800 traffic deaths in the first nine months of last year. This is slightly lower than the same time frame in 2021, but significantly higher than the figures for 2020 and 2019.
“Every fatality, it’s a difficult impact,” said Washington State Patrol Sergeant Chelsea Hudson. “It affects the family. It affects the community. It affects the first responders.”
Hodgson’s department has a Hard time Finding enough officers to patrol the streets.
“There’s a nationwide shortage of staff,” Hudson said. “We feel that in our agency as well. And we’re also focused on recruiting to help fill those positions so we can have a better presence to help this go down.”
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