Richland's Traffic Safety Unit makes a difference

Richland's Traffic Safety Unit makes a difference
RICHLAND, Wash. - KEPR was the first to tell you about a new unit focusing on traffic in Richland. There's no doubt you've noticed the increase of officers looking for speeders around the city.

We checked back into their success, crunching the numbers to look at tickets and accidents and see what kind of a difference it's made.

It's been about a year since Richland dedicated three officers to cover traffic. It was all to get a handle on street safety. They've been taking your calls on the areas to patrol. Giving folks no choice but to become better drivers.

Officer David Clark said, "We're doing that education part out there, even though we write lots of citations and we stop lots of people."

It seems to be working. The number of speeding tickets written in Richland is up. There was roughly 750 in all of last year. So far this year more than 500 and it's only mid-April.

The hottest spots for speeders this year? Wellsian Way by Richland High School and along Duportail. Tickets start at $124 but can go up to to $500 if you're caught in a school zone.

Pulling folks over is the first step in bringing their attention back to driving. Trying to re-instill lessons they may have forgotten.

It's a chance to let drivers know what can happen if they're not careful.

Ron got pulled over for speeding on Queensgate. He said, "I should try to be more attentive in the future and I promised myself to do that."

Ron got a warning and a lecture. He was just slightly over the speed limit. The next driver wasn't so lucky. She got a ticket with the lecture about going over the speed limit.

The traffic safety unit is focusing on that word, safety. Police believe stopping speeders leads to fewer wrecks. Getting them to think twice.

The numbers seem to prove it.
By this time last year, at the start of the safety unit's run, 550 accidents were on the books. So far this year, only 465.

The unit is focusing their efforts here on the corner of Jadwin and G-Way where they say they've seen the highest number of accidents citywide so far this year.

Mostly because of the flow of traffic and the number of cars that travel on this main road.

The are slowing drivers and building safety. The traffic safety unit will remain a fixture in Richland.

So where does all that money go that comes from tickets? The state gets most of it.

Of over a million dollars in traffic fines for last year Richland PD only gets about two percent.