Washington State Police have committed numerous officers towards enforcing safe driving on the Interstate 5 corridor in Pierce County. Unlike most other efforts, though, this one does not focus on driving under the influence (DUI). Instead of using so-called “saturation patrols” to detect drunk drivers, this new effort aims to ticket as many traffic violations as possible.
Drivers should take the time to review their rights during a traffic stop in Washington.
Washington State Police Announce Traffic Crackdown
The initiative to target traffic violations on Interstate 5 this week was announced as a response to a startling increase in car crashes on the highway's stretch through Tacoma. Commercial vehicles and trucks are a target for the crackdown.
After Pierce County did not have a single fatal commercial vehicle accident last year, the number of non-fatal accidents has spiked in recent months and since the turn of the year. Many of them happened in the area that the police are closely watching this week: a 10-mile section of Interstate 5 from Highway 512 to Highway 18.
Officers have expressed a special interest in large trucks and tractor trailers that use the left lane, which is prohibited on the Interstate.
A Driver's Best Practices During a Traffic Stop
The crackdown can lead to flashing lights and a traffic stop after even the smallest traffic infraction. Knowing your rights and how to interact with police during a stop is critical, especially in these days of police overreach and a general lack of trust in law enforcement.
- You do not have to consent to a search. Perhaps the most important right to remember is that you do not have to consent to a search of your vehicle or your person. Asking for your permission to perform a search is the favorite police tactic for overcoming your Fourth Amendment rights
- Be calm, polite, and move slowly. While police make traffic stops every day, they know that any one of them could be their last. They are human like the rest of us, so put them at ease by staying calm and rational and by not making any sudden moves can keep the traffic stop from escalating
- Flex your rights in court, not on the curb. Many police officers want to get you in as much trouble as possible and will trounce your rights if necessary. It might sound strange, but the best thing to do in these situations is to invoke your rights – repeating that you do not consent to a search, or asking why you are being arrested – but nothing more. Resisting during the stop only escalates the situation and makes the court case much harder
Steve Karimi is Seattle's Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of a crime or get caught up in the Washington State Police's traffic crackdown, an attorney can be an important part of your defense. Steve Karimi represents those who have been accused of traffic violations or received tickets and fights for their interests in court. Contact him online or call his Seattle law office at (206) 621-8777.