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Enforcement · Target Zero

Target Zero is the state’s strategic highway safety plan, and calls for reducing highway deaths to zero by the year 2030. The entire plan can be found at

Enforcement is one of four equal strategies of Target Zero, along with engineering, education and emergency medical service. Enforcement is the responsibility of police agencies at all levels.

Under Target Zero, state troopers, county sheriff’s deputies and city and tribal police officers will focus on those violations proven to cause fatal or serious injury collisions.

To focus efforts, Target Zero has grouped the primary factors in fatal and serious traffic collisions into three priority levels. The top three factors in each level are associated with traffic fatalities and serious injuries from 2009 to 2011.

  • Priority Level One are factors associated in at least 30% of fatal and serious injury collisions:
  • Linked Photo: Target Zero Plan
      - Impaired driving
      - Run-off-the-road
      - Speeding

  • Priority Level Two are factors associated in at least 10% of fatal and serious injury collisions:
    • - Failure to wear seat belts
      - Unlicensed drivers
      - Wrong way drivers

  • Priority Level Three are factors associated in less than 10% of fatal and serious injury collisions:
    • - Older driver 75+ involved
      - Large semi-truck involvement
      - Drowsy drivers

Target Zero Teams

The Target Zero Teams first rolled out in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties in July 2010, as a demonstration project with the goal to reduce fatal and serious injury collisions caused by impaired drivers. After completing the original two year project, it’s estimated more than 100 lives were saved because of the teams. In 2012, the Washington Legislature fully funded the Target Zero Teams to continue their work in the King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Starting in July 2013, the Target Zero Teams expanded to the Yakima and Spokane counties as part of a two-year project funded by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Target Zero Teams Squad Car

The core of each of these Target Zero Teams are troopers and sergeants of the Washington State Patrol working full time at locations where history shows the most DUI fatalities or serious collisions involving a DUI have occurred. Included on the teams are county and local deputies or officers who will contribute as time and resources permit.

See the Target Zero emphasis patrol areas:

Image Link: King County Emphasis Map     Image Link: Pierce County Emphasis Map     Image Link: Snohomish County Emphasis Map

Image Link: Spokane County Emphasis Map     Image Link: Yakima County Emphasis Map    

The Target Zero Teams are more than just DUI squads of the past. The successes of the teams come from:

  • Experienced planners who use the latest GIS mapping software to guide the Target Zero patrols. Team members will know where crashes are occurring and which roads lead to high-collision areas.

  • State troopers, sheriff’s deputies and city police officers out every night of the week looking for impaired drivers. Each officer was selected by his or her agency because they are the most motivated and experienced at arresting impaired drivers.

  • Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors who work with officers to improve the quality and content of officers’ investigations and reports. These prosecutors are also available, upon request, to assist local prosecutors in presenting the best possible cases in court.

The team’s measure of success will not be simply arresting a high number of DUIs; it will come from the reduction in DUI-related fatalities.

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In 2005 WSP saw an increase in speed-related fatalities. Chief John Batiste ordered troopers to emphasize speed enforcement and deaths have dropped each year since.