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Washington State Patrol uses latest laser technology to quickly clear roadways after an accident


The Washington State Patrol released their newest edition of their Good to Know video series (view above), which features detectives using the latest laser technology to quickly clear roadways after an accident, ensuring driver and officer safety.


According to the WSP, the Trimble Laser Scanner does the work traditionally done by detectives, but in about half the time and with only one operator. The machine scans items at the scene in order to recreate a 3-D version of the surrounding area which helps investigators determine the cause of the collision.


WSP uses the Trimble to reduce road closure time while still conducting a thorough investigation of the incident. The device can also be used at other types of crimes such as homicides, to document the location of important evidence.


State approves funds to upgrade 49 rail crossings in Spokane and Whitman counties

State approves funds to upgrade 49 rail crossings in Spokane and Whitman counties

State regulators approved funding for safety upgrades at 49 railroad crossings in Spokane and Whitman counties on Tuesday.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved a Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) grant at the request of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). WSDOT owns the railroad line and contracts with Washington & Idaho Railway (WIR), which operates over the tracks.

WSDOT will receive $12,250 to replace cross bucks and cross-buck posts, install or replace yield and stop signs, replace multiple track signs, and install reflective tape at the public crossings.

Troopers crack down on distracted drivers

Troopers crack down on distracted drivers

Click it or Ticket ran from May 19 to June 1 and netted nearly almost 600 citations between Spokane, Whitman, Pend Oreille and Ferry counties.

A statewide campaign since 2002, the focus has shifted from seatbelts to other issues with drivers behind the wheel.

"We focus on the distracted driving violations. texting, talking on your cell phone," said Trooper Greg Birkeland of the Washington State Patrol.

Why is it important? Birkeland says it's important for drivers to remember they are behind the wheel of what he calls a 2,000 pound killing machine.

"If you are not in complete control things happen in a split second," he said.

Since the campaign started, seat belt use in Washington has gone from 82-percent to 97-percent, one of the highest in the country. During the two-week campaign an additional 370 extra patrol hours are put in on a round-the-clock basis.

"We have certain areas that we target, and typically they are the congested areas," Birkeland said, adding that seat belt and texting violations can be some of the most difficult to spot.

Washington conducting impaired driving survey this weekend

Washington conducting impaired driving survey this weekend

Washington state and the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission are teaming up to conduct surveys on impaired drivers through the weekend.

The survey is completely anonymous and voluntary and the goal is to gain perspective on what is in Washington driver's systems and find out what the state needs to educate the public on.

"When you're driving down the road do you ever wonder how many impaired drivers are around you? Well we do to," Karen Wigen, Spokane County Target Zero Task Force, said.

The anonymous, voluntary survey be conducted on the roadside across the state.

"This is the first time that we've ever done a driver impairment data collection study in Washington state," Wigen said.

The NHTSC paid the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation $250,000 to conduct the survey in six counties. Because of the legalization of marijuana the surveys will give a snapshot of motorists' drug and alcohol use before pot stores open in the coming months.

"PIRE is going to run the study on I think it will be 75 drugs, illegal, legal and over the counter," Wigen said.

Safe holiday driving tips from Idaho State Police

Safe holiday driving tips from Idaho State Police

From the Idaho State Police:

Memorial Day weekend is not only a time to reflect and honor our veterans, but also a time when many Idahoans take to the road to enjoy the unofficial kick-off of summer.   During Memorial Day weekend in 2013, there were 137 crashes on Idaho roads with 79 people injured and 2 fatalities.  The Idaho State Police offer some safety reminders to drivers to ensure that this holiday is safe for everybody on the road.  

Police begin distracted driving emphasis patrol

Police begin distracted driving emphasis patrol

Police across the Washington state are out in full force looking for distracted drivers and seatbelt violations with additional emphasis patrols.

The patrols, which started Monday, run through June 1 in Spokane, Whitman, Pend Oreille and Ferry counties.

It's a fairly simple concept: When you're behind the wheel, your eyes should be on the road and no where else. But the last time Washington cops cracked down on distracted driving they handed out more than 2,500 tickets in just five days, so they're sending the message again, put the phone down or pay the price.

Distracted driving is more than just talking or texting on your cell phone.

"Anything that distracts you in your cars and takes your attention away from your driving could be a ticketable offense," Spokane Police Officer Teresa Fuller said.

Those tickets start out at $124. If you're charged with aggressive or negligent driving because of your distraction you could pay as much as $550 or more.

Pullman-Moscow airport looks at improvements

Officials say the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport needs improvements to keep up with more demand and bigger aircraft.

Airport Executive Director Tony Bean says the airport has fallen behind the times due to aircraft increasing in size.

Bean says there isn't the space and capacity to land current-size aircraft safely, and as the trend doesn't seem likely to change, the problem will only worsen.

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports that the concerns are the driving force behind a $66 million project to realign and extend the runway and move the terminal at the airport.

The project would be funded through a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, of which the region will be liable for 10 percent.