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 www.targetzero.com.
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.
These are the “low hanging fruit” of traffic safety. Violators are easy to spot, and a majority of highway deaths have one of these violations as a contributing factor.
(While the failure to wear a seat belt does not cause collisions, it certainly contributes to deaths in collisions that would have otherwise been survivable.)
This data-driven approach to traffic safety means that traffic officers will spend the bulk of their time looking for these three violations. However, they will not ignore other violations. Aggressive driving, distracted driving and even equipment violations all have contributed to their share of highway tragedies.
Target Zero Teams
On July 1, 2010, more than 35 police agencies launched Target Zero Teams (TZT) in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties. The teams’ goal is to reduce the number of deaths caused by impaired drivers.
At the kick-off event, WSP Chief John R. Batiste said “if you choose to drink and drive in King, Pierce or Snohomish counties, your chance of being caught and convicted just went way up.”
At the core of the Target Zero Teams are 18 troopers and three sergeants of the Washington State Patrol. They will work full-time seeking impaired drivers at the most dangerous locations in the three county area.
As time and resources permit, officers from local police departments and sheriff’s offices will work alongside the WSP team members. Some local participation will be funded through grants provided by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
Data analysts are mapping locations where fatal and serious injury crashes have occurred, along with DUI arrests and other data. They’ve created enforcement zones to guide officers on where to patrol.
See the Target Zero emphasis patrol areas:
The Target Zero Teams also include two Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutors who are experts in presenting DUI cases in court. They will work with TZT members to make sure their investigations and the reports they write are compliant with the latest court rulings.Target Zero Teams are part of a demonstration project, and may become the national model for attacking impaired driving. As part of TZT, Clark and Spokane counties are being used as “control counties.” Officers in those counties will aggressively enforce DUI laws, but in the traditional way as part of routine patrol. Researchers will study whether the TZT model produces a reduction in fatalities when compared to traditional enforcement.