Evaluation of the Washington State Target Zero teams project.
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Evaluation of the Washington State Target Zero teams project.

  • 2015-01-01

Filetype[PDF-2.49 MB]


  • English

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      As part of its “Target Zero” strategic highway safety plan that has the goal to reduce traffic fatalities in Washington to zero by the year 2030, the State of Washington established three detachments of Washington State Patrol (WSP) troopers to focus on nighttime impaireddriving offenses. These detachments stationed in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties were named Target Zero Teams (TZT). Each included one sergeant and six troopers funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC). It is important to note that Snohomish also served as the pilot site for the successful Night Emphasis Enforcement Team (NEET) project that began in late 2006 and was the model for the TZT program. In addition to the WSP detachments, the TZT program also involved local law enforcement on overtime funded by WTSC. Researchers chose 3 other counties in Washington (Clark, Spokane, and Yakima) to serve as comparison sites since they did not have any formal, WTSC-funded TZT activities taking place. Overall, during the TZT period, there were notable countywide net increases in the number of DUI arrests by troopers in the TZT counties with Pierce increasing 47.21 percent, King 13.63 percent, and Snohomish 13.28 percent. The Snohomish increase is noteworthy since it represents a net gain above and beyond that achieved by the NEET program. The TZT detachments in King, Pierce, and Snohomish showed significantly higher percentages of trooper contacts resulting in DUI arrests (15.38%, 10.83%, and 9.78% respectively) than the non-TZT troopers in those counties (1.75%, 2.02, and 1.61%), and WSP troopers in the comparison counties (2.56%, 1.98%, and 1.91%) and the rest of the State (1.22%). The study results suggested that TZT led to reduced non-fatal crashes of all types in Pierce County, reduced crashes of some types in King County, but limited crash reductions in Snohomish County where the NEET program had already achieved significant reductions as reported previously by WTSC. Results showed that relative to the comparison counties the TZT counties had a reduction of 24.8 percent in driver alcohol involvement (BAC > .01) in fatal crashes and a relative reduction of 22.4 percent for high driver BAC (BAC > .15) involvement in fatal crashes. Using conservative assumptions, researchers compared projected driver alcohol-involved fatality data with observed fatality data to estimate that TZT saved 11 lives that would have been lost in driver alcohol-involved crashes in the TZT counties if TZT had not been in operation. Based on these fatalities avoided alone, TZT was highly cost-effective. Overall, the study results suggest the TZT approach markedly increased the DUI enforcement productivity of the law enforcement agencies in the intervention counties which led to safety gains in these counties during the study time period.
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