Did you notice a lot of state police troopers out last week? Wondering what was up? The Idaho State Police (ISP) is eager to let you know.
Last Tuesday, March 5, ISP’s District 2 initiated a new emphasis patrol program: High Visibility Enforcement (HVE). According to ISP Trooper Cory Juber, four troopers patrolled an approximate 56-mile section of U.S. Highway 95 between White Bird and Winchester. In total, troopers had 22 total contacts with motorists, resulting in 13 citations, 10 warnings, and two arrests.
Emphasis patrols are nothing new.
“We do these on a semi-regular basis,” Juber said. “It is to get out there looking for hazardous moving violations, and also to get the Idaho State Police seen so local residents and people passing through get to see a lot of ISP cars. It gets people slowed down and obeying the laws.”
What is new is ISP working with local media to notify the public, not only of HVE patrols coming up, but also of the results. In the past, according to Juber, emphasis patrols would be conducted and the resulting statistics on contacts would be taken to the ISP office, where they would remain. Now with HVE, those statistics get out to the public as a matter of transparency and to put hard numbers behind the concerns for hazardous driving.
So, how did the March 5 HVE patrol break down?
Of those 13 citations, four were for marijuana and paraphernalia possession; two were for commercial vehicles (speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign); four were speeding (one was excessive: more than 16 mph over the posted speed limit); two for failure to use seat belts; six hazardous moving violations (such as following too close, illegal or double-line passing); and two were motorist assists.
“On one of these,” Juber said of the motorist assists, “the trooper assisted in changing two tires on one vehicle. They were having a bad day.”
ISP’s District 2 Office (covering Idaho, Lewis, Clearwater, Nez Perce and Latah counties) will be doing two HVE patrols a quarter, according to Juber. Awareness on these will be especially emphasized as Idaho moves into the “100 Deadliest Days of Driving,” a period from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The District 2 office came up with the HVE program to help get its fatality crashes down.
“Not that District 2 is a hazardous area,” he said, “but we do have fatalities throughout the year, and our goal is zero fatalities for the year. In getting the word out through the media, and being visible through these emphasis patrols, we can help with that.”
According to ISP, statewide there were 244 fatalities related to motor vehicle accidents, of which 23 were in District 2. For this year through February, statewide there have been 27 fatalities, of which two were in District 2.
“The leading causes of fatality crashes are distracted, impaired or aggressive driving,” Juber said.
Juber said this will be a good program to provide visibility of law enforcement, in increased awareness through the media, and for motorists, “a constant reminder for highway safety.”