WSP: 50 percent more speeders on the road

WSP: 50 percent more speeders on the road
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- KEPR is always looking out for your safety, and we found a fairly alarming trend on our roads: Speeding is way up on state highways.

Reporter: "Do you ever speed in your car?"
Maria Barbarosh: "All the time! All the time I speed, of course."

It's no secret that driving on our highways can be dangerous, and the numbers back that up. In the last year, Washington State Patrol has ticketed 50 percent more people in our district for speeding.

We took a ride with Trooper Chris Thorson while he was on patrol. He showed us the spots he finds the most speeders. State Route 240 West past Columbia Center Boulevard was the first stop.

"Troopers could come down here - the speed limit here is 60 miles an hour - and actually write tickets for 80, 90, 100 miles an hour during the day," said Thorson.

That number is backed up by the DOT. KEPR learned that, in 2012, more than 6,000 drivers were going over 90 miles an hour as they approached George Washington Way from Highway 240. It was considered one of the top ten spots in the state for excessive speeding.

But the problem goes beyond that stretch. Troopers plan to emphasize speeding on U.S. 395 coming into Pasco and Kennewick, on Highway 240 East between G-Way and the mall, and on I-82 on the back side of Badger Mountain.

The area off I-182 has one of the highest volumes for people speeding and, thus, more ticket writing. WSP says, if they see you talking on your phone or speeding, they're going to come after you.

WSP attributes the high number of speeders to a shortage in troopers. Now with five extra cars on the road, they're ready to write more tickets to keep our roads safer for everyone.

Maria Barbarosh says it probably won't change her habits.

"If it's for safety, of course. Other than that, they're doing their jobs," she said.

State troopers say the number of accidents is up almost 80 percent since last year. They pulled over nearly 500 drivers in the Tri-Cities last year. They anticipate pulling over even more with the extra troopers on the road.