The Vancouver Police Department Traffic Unit consists of 2 Motorcycle Officers (1 is a Sergeant who oversees the entire unit), 2 Officers assigned to a traffic car to focus on afternoon/nighttime DUI and other traffic related enforcement, and 1 Officer responsible for Commercial Truck Enforcement.
Click on this link to watch the Traffic Unit featured on VPD All Access
Watch the new Don't Text and Drive public service announcement produced by CVTV and the Vancouver Police Department.
Watch the new School Zone Safety public service announcement
produced by CVTV and the Vancouver Police Department.
Watch the new video about the dangers of speeding in a school zone produced by CVTV and the Vancouver Police Department
On June 10, 2010, Washington's cell phone law went into effect - with strict police enforcement. If police see you holding a phone to your ear or texting while driving, they can pull you over. Tickets are $124 and could be more if your distracted driving causes a collision.
The law means:
•No talking on handheld cell phones while driving.
•No texting while driving.
•Teens with intermediate driver licenses or learner permits may not use a wireless device at all while driving, including hands-free devices, unless they're reporting an emergency.
This law is not meant to encourage the use of hands-free devices. Hands-free devices offer no safety benefit. Parking your phone is the only safe way to drive. Pulling to the shoulder to talk on the phone or text is rarely a safe option and should only be done in an emergency.
For more information: www.distracteddriving.nsc.org/
Source: Washington State Traffic Safety Commission, Washington State Patrol, Department of Licensing, and the Driven to Distraction Task Force of Washington State
The Traffic Complaint Hotline is also up and running. Here's how it works:Citizens with complaints of traffic problems can call the Traffic Hotline at (360) 487-7402 and record a detailed message which should include their name, address and phone number (this gives the officer the ability to contact the citizen back with follow up information or to gather more information on the complaint if needed) the date, time (include if possible a 30 minute to 1 hour window when the issue occurs) and the location. Specific detail is important to properly allocate resources to address the problem. Vancouver Police will review all complaints and assign Officers to address the problems.
During the school year the Traffic Unit is conducts school zone speed enforcement. All the school zones are active when lights are flashing or children are present so careful attention to speed is necessary to protect the safety of kids traveling to/from school. Remember the speed in a school zone is 20 m.p.h.
Here is some startling information on risk of death to pedestrians based on vehicle speed:
Watch our new video on this topic!
Vehicle Speed Fatality Risk
14 MPH 5%
21 MPH 10%
25 MPH 25%
28 MPH 58%
30 MPH 75%
35 MPH 99%
One of the more shocking discoveries is the risk of death for a pedestrian hit at 30 mph skyrockets to 75%, a speed that some drivers may consider "just 10 over" the school zone speed limit. Speed kills so please drive safe, slow and within the legal limits!
Clark County uses the Washington State graduated fine schedule for speeding. What this means to drivers is that fines are now based on how many miles over the legal limit a driver is traveling. Previously some fines had a flat rate (e.g. prior school zone violation was flat $177). Graduated fines also apply for speeding in construction zones.
Below is a chart with some of the common school zone speeding violations and the new fine schedule:
Speed School Zone 1–5 mph over $189
Speed School Zone 6-10 mph over $210
Speed School Zone 11-15 mph over $271
Speed School Zone 16-20 mph over $353
•Drivers need to stop in a two lane road no matter which way the bus in traveling.
• If the road is divided, the cars that are traveling in the same direction need to stop.
•If there is a two-way turn lane, cars in the turn lane need to stop as well as the vehicle that is going the same direction as the bus.
Watch this YouTube video for more information about school bus paddle stops.
Washington State has two cell-phone related driving laws that began in 2008 and were upgraded in 2010 to a primary stop law. This law bans text messaging so if police see you holding a phone to your ear or texting while driving, they can pull you over. Tickets are $124 and could be more if your distracted driving causes a collision. This is not a hands-free ordinance, but a complete ban on text messaging.
Hands Free Law
The other Washington State driving law that went into effect in 2008 was the hands-free law which was updated in 2010. This hands-free cell-phone law prohibits the use of a wireless device such as a cell-phone being held to your ear while driving. The safest method is not to be on the phone when you are driving but if you must take a call you should use a hands free device such as a bluetooth headset or wired headset while driving. If police see you holding a phone to your ear or texting while driving, they can pull you over. Tickets are $124 and could be more if your distracted driving causes a collision. So remember Hang Up And Drive!
Although technology, such as GPS, helps us to navigate around town, it is not a reliable way to determine speed limits of streets. The only way to determine the legal speed limit is the posted speed limit signs. Don't rely on your GPS for speed limit information.