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Originally published April 7, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Page modified April 7, 2010 at 9:28 PM

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Statewide anti-speeding patrol crackdown begins Friday

Law-enforcement agencies will launch a spring crackdown Friday called "Slow Down or Pay Up," which officials call the first statewide anti-speeding patrol.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Law-enforcement agencies will launch a spring crackdown Friday called "Slow Down or Pay Up," which officials call the first statewide anti-speeding patrol.

The next four weekends, officers will lurk along roadways that have had high numbers of deaths during the past five years. A media blitz and police-overtime pay will be funded by a federal grant of $500,000 to $600,000, said Lowell Porter, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Speeding is about equal to drunken driving as a cause of death. But while drunken driving has declined, and seat-belt use is at around 97 percent, drivers haven't let up on the gas pedal, Porter said.

"It's a much more complex behavior, a much more complex psychology than drunk driving or wearing a seat belt," he said.

People rationalize that everybody goes a few miles over the limit, but a difference of 10 mph can double the death risk, because of longer stopping distances and greater collision forces, he said.

From 2004 to 2008, there were 2,941 traffic deaths in the state, of which 1,166 fatalities, or 40 percent, were attributed primarily to high speed, according to Fatality Analysis Reporting System data.

The spring patrols will be mainly in the afternoons and early evenings on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, when statistics show drivers speed the most, said Porter. The program runs through May 1.

Fines for speeding citations range from $22 to $177, a state schedule says.

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