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Western state police unite to slow speedy drivers

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POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - Fewer cars on the road during the pandemic may have offered room for drivers to feel at ease speeding.

That’s become a safety hazard for western highways and a problem for troopers.

Idaho State Police report ticketing more people for driving 16 mph over the limit last year, despite fewer drivers on the road. In Wyoming, state police gave out fewer speeding tickets in 2020, but of those they gave, they saw a 29% increase in citations for driving over 100 mph, according to a news release from Wyoming Highway Patrol.

Along with excessive speeding, states across the west are experiencing more fatal and serious injury car accidents. Idaho’s most recent Memorial Day weekend was particularly deadly: at least 10 people died in 8 separate accidents statewide during the 3-day Memorial Day weekend, according to Idaho State Police. 

“Our goal is to keep families whole and keep people safe on our roadways. Speeding is aggressive and puts the speeding driver as well as everyone around them at risk. It’s one of the most dangerous things a driver can do,” said Idaho State Police Lt. Jens Pattis.

To put the brakes on the issue, the Western States Traffic Safety Coalition (WSTSC) is starting a special effort this week to identify and address the dangers of excessive speeds on our highways. This weekend, June 25-27, WSTSC will be running an Excessive Speed Enforcement Safety Campaign, targeting fast drivers.

“Behind the wheel, we all need to be safe and courteous. And we’re strengthening that message by unifying efforts with partner agencies throughout the west to let folks know that wherever they travel, their safety and the safety of others is absolutely our priority, even if it means writing them a citation when they fail to watch their speed,” said Pattis.

The WSTSC is made up of 12 states, including Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Montana, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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