Law enforcement patrols reduce injury crashes
The number of injury crashes in the I-84 corridor between Nampa and Boise dropped by almost two-thirds - from 26 to 9 - thanks to increased work zone patrols over the last six months.
The Idaho State Police (ISP), through an agreement with ITD, increased patrols in the 12-mile work zone last August.
From Aug. 15 to Dec. 31, 2008, ISP investigated 95 crashes investigated in the work zone, down from 114 for the same time period in 2007. That was accomplished despite the considerable number of crashes that occurred during the relatively severe winter weather conditions in the Treasure Valley the last two weeks of December 2008, a month with more than 20 inches of snow.
"The reduction in crashes can be attributed to a variety of factors, such as lower speed limits (reducing the frequency and especially the severity of crashes) and greater patrol visibility and enforcement," Richardson said.
Idaho State Police officers issued 1,594 citations during he period, and an additional 1,311 warnings (verbal or written). DUI arrests on that stretch of highway were 57, along with 189 citations for non-use of seat belts, 69 arrests/citations for Driving Without Privileges, and 806 citations for speeding.
"Virtually none of those specific law enforcement activities would have occurred without the agreement," said Capt. Steve Richardson, Region Commander of ISP's Region 3 (covering the 10 southwestern counties). "Traffic/public safety has been considerably enhanced through this excellent partnership between ITD, ISP and Connecting Idaho Partners."
The enhanced patrols are provided through a subsidy from ITD's GARVEE Program Office. ITD is using GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle) bonds to expedite many of the local I-84 projects.
"The partnership between ITD, Connecting Idaho Partners and ISP is a critical factor in providing enhanced public safety for those using I-84 while the necessary highway construction is carried out,” Richardson said.
“When we can have a greater patrol presence in conjunction with additional signing, reduced speed limits and other safety measures used in the work zone, construction workers and motorists have a much safer environment in which to conduct their work and travel.”
Richardson described a recent incident that demonstrates the effectiveness of the increased patrols - one of ISP’s Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) officers who worked the night shift on Jan. 23:
“Certainly a very close call that could have turned out considerably different had the ITD/ISP GARVEE overtime patrols project not been in place,” said Richardson. “As a result, our trooper investigated a DUI driver/incident rather than a serious injury or fatal crash.”
Richardson added that in late 2005, a similar awareness/safety enhancement patrol was in place on I-84 near Garrity for the eastbound on-ramp project, and more than three years later, it still shows a much better safety record than it did before the patrols.
ITD’s Gary Moles and Tom Haynes are overseeing the GARVEE increased work zone patrol contracts, and Amy Schroeder of GARVEE, Pat Trueba and Pat Klampe of Connecting Idaho Partners were instrumental in setting up the program.