Julie Humphreys, Public Safety Communication Manager, 509.625.5868
Friday, April 30, 2021 at 3:19 p.m.
SPD and regional partners put the brakes on road racing in North Spokane with a driving emphasis patrol
Young drivers congregating at several North Spokane locations on Friday and Saturday nights are getting the message to slow down, don’t drive impaired or recklessly and stay alive. Spokane Police, Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputies, and Washington State Patrol troopers have spent the past 3 weekends at locations including the vacated Shopko parking lot on North Division, the old Albertson’s at Wandermere and Maverick on North Division. Cops volunteers have also assisted. Law Enforcement officers have issued 60 citations for speeding - all in excess of 17 miles an hour over the posted speed limit. They have also arrested 15 people for reckless driving and 5 for DUI’s. Additionally 22 warnings were given.
Young people have long gathered on the weekends in cars, often belonging to their parents, to race around. Recently, the size of these gatherings has grown with 75 to 100 cars congregating at various locations. Drivers then race up and down major roadways including Division Street and Newport Highway, weaving in and out of traffic and endangering themselves and other drivers. One example; a 16 year old who had his license for one week, decided to drive 50 to 60mph through a parking lot with his 15 year old girlfriend in the car. He was arrested for reckless driving and cited for violation of intermediate license conditions. Neighbors and uninvolved drivers have issued complaints about the road racing, which is not only dangerous but loud and continues after dark.
In Washington State young drivers, aged 16-25 years old make up 13.5% of the population but were involved in 31% of all fatalities and 34% of all serious injuries between 2015- 2017. During the same timeframe young drivers were involved in crashes that resulted in 2,243 serious injuries and 512 fatalities. More than 100 young people die each year on Washington Roads - see the attachment from the Spokane County Target Zero Task Force for additional information and a video on young drivers and traffic safety. For information on SPD’s traffic unit, contact Sgt. Teresa Fuller firstname.lastname@example.org
The emphasis patrol will be held again this weekend and will continue as long as needed. Law Enforcement wants young people to have fun, but to do so safely and responsibly. Parents, please be aware of what your children may be doing when they take the car out to “hang out” with friends on the weekend.