The Washington State Patrol (WSP) on Tuesday deployed an enhanced hit-and-run alert system aimed at wider information dissemination about fleeing vehicles involved in serious collisions.
The WSP said the new program is a joint effort with state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, as well as the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).
Under the new system, a hit-and-run alert will be activated if a collision results in serious injury or death, if there is enough descriptive information available about the suspect or the vehicle, and if the incident has been reported to and is being investigated by law enforcement.
Alerts will be sent to the media and to those who register to receive them online, and will also be posted on the social media accounts of local law enforcement agencies. If there is enough identifying information, WSDOT will use the Variable Message Signs and Highway Advisory Radio systems in certain areas.
WSP Chief John Batiste reported that there were over 300 hit-and-run collisions last year that resulted in serious injury or death.
“In many of those situations, information about the fleeing vehicle was available that, if widely disseminated, might have helped us find a dangerous driver,” Batiste said. “We are working with our partners in law enforcement across the state and in highway safety at WSDOT to get the word out about these often devastating crimes.”
Batiste advised those who spot suspect vehicles to call 911 and urged them at all times to not engage with the vehicle or driver.
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