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Motorists in the mid and south county areas are advised to watch their
speed this weekend because law enforcement will be paying special
attention. Thirty-two officers from 15 agencies in Pierce County will
begin ticketing law breakers Saturday as early as 7 a.m. on State Routes
161 (Meridian), 7 (Pacific Highway) and 512 as part of a statewide
mobilization. Officers also will be looking for speeders on 176th
Street East and Sunrise Boulevard.

The special enforcement will operate all day and into the night. Pierce
County Sheriff's deputies will focus Saturday night on drivers under
the age of 25 who street race on county roads surrounding the target
area. "We've had several fatalities and near-fatalities in recent
years from kids floor-boarding it on a whim and prayer," said Sgt.
Paul Schneider. "We also get complaints about the activity from local
residents. Our tolerance for high-risk driving by young males is
zero."

The emphasis action is aimed at stopping crashes before they happen by
implementing a patrol involving multiple agencies somewhere in the state
every week of the year. The public does not make the connection between
speeding and fatal crashes as readily as it does between impaired
driving and fatalities. Yet, drivers in Washington driving over the
speed limit have been responsible for about 40 percent of traffic deaths
in recent years.

The extra year-long patrols are expected to reduce these fatalities.
The strategy is based on evidence from other states that sustained
emphasis patrols, along with targeted media, significantly change the
behavior of risk-taking drivers.

The Tacoma Pierce County DUI Task Force received an $85, 000 grant from
the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to conduct both speed and DUI
patrols through the end of September. Participating agencies in Pierce
County are matching these grant funds, enabling police to conduct five
speed and five DUI multi-agency patrols.

Motorists can expect to see the following agencies outside their usual
jurisdictions beginning this weekend: Ruston, Gig Harbor, Tacoma,
Fircrest, Sumner, Steilacoom, Puyallup, Lakewood, Fife, University
Place, Bonney Lake, Dupont and Milton police departments along with the
Pierce County Sheriff's Department. The Washington State Patrol is
participating by providing dispatch and assigning extra troopers to the
effort.


CONTACT: Gloria Mansfield Averill, Coordinator, Tacoma/Pierce County
DUI Task Force, 253-798-6112 or 253-222-9088; or Dick Ferguson, Media
and Community Relations, 253-798-3979.
 
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