Aurora Traffic Safety patrol catches 677 violations

Updated with new number of violations:
Beginning at approximately 7 a.m. and running through the rest of the day on Thursday, April 14, Seattle Police Department and Washington State Patrol officers conducted a major safe driving enforcement patrol along Aurora Ave N.

Over the course of the day patrol officers tracked a total of 677 violations, wrote up 509 citations, clocked 331 speeders and doled out 198 warnings to drivers, according to the SPD Blotter. These numbers include 62 people caught driving while talking on their cell phones, 80 driving without insurance, 23 without a license, and a total of six who were arrested and charged with DUIs. Here’s the breakdown of violations, and subsequent tickets, for the day:

Tickets issued for the following violations:

Aggressive driving – 19
DUI Arrest – 6
Negligent Driving – 2
High speed – 66 in a 40 MPH zone
Cell phone – 62
No insurance – 80
No Operators License – 23
FTY to Pedestrians – 1
FTY Right of Way – 2
Unsafe Lane Change – 21
Follow to close – 2
School zone – 8
School zone (speed van) – 42
Bicycle – 2
Inattention – 2
Defective Equipment – 8
Illegal turns – 16
Signs Obey – 15
No seatbelt – 30
Vehicle License – 5

While SPD did dish out quite a lot of tickets along Aurora yesterday, officers say the primary aim of the patrol was safety. “The overall goal of the Aurora Avenue emphasis patrol is to promote safe driving behavior, not necessarily to write tickets. Tickets are however, a product of traffic law enforcement,” SPD said in a statement.

Some readers disagree however. Ben commented on our previous story about the patrol, saying, “One has to wonder how stupid the police think the public is. Maybe I’m giving the police too much credit but I can’t believe for a second that they honestly believe this has any long term effect. It’s just an excuse to hand out gobs of tickets. After three days of non-police-marshal-law on Aurora things will business as usual.”

QA Res responded, “If they want to make Aurora safer they should focus their safety efforts on what’s happening outside of the car on Aurora.”

What do you think? Did the patrol help remind the public to drive safely along Aurora, which has an extremely high collision incident rate, or was it just an excuse for officers to hand out more tickets in a shorter amount of time? What do you think SPD and the city could do to make Aurora safer?

74 thoughts to “Aurora Traffic Safety patrol catches 677 violations”

  1. I wanted to see texting violations.It is one of the biggest problems on the road and they need to seriously crack down on it more agressively than they have in the past

  2. While this event is a good thing in my opinion I would rather see a regular presence of law enforcement on the roads. Right now every time I drive I see an infraction/violation every minute and I’m not even really looking.

    And no, it’s not a revenue thing for the police, geez, when driving just obey the law, give yourself time and space, and viola – no problem!

  3. 80 citations for no insurance? Holy cow! I guess that’s why I need to shell out extra bucks for ‘uninsured motorists’. And even with that, I’ll still be screwed if one of those dickheads plows into me.

  4. It is scary the amount of uninsured motorists out there. Why don’t they make people show proof of insurance when they get there tabs. No insurance no tabs. Then they can identify uninsured moroists on the road. If you cancel your insurance they insurance company contacts DMV and then you have to turn in your tab sticker

  5. I think police should worry less about SOME of the silly traffic citations they hand out, and concentrate more on finding child molesters and rapists. Just my two cents.

  6. Nice to see so many cell phone violations handed out. If they keep it up (say, once a week for a month), people might actually start to change their behavior.

  7. Talk to any professionl driver. I used to be one. Any bus driver can tell you for example, that it’s just nuts out there. Once when I was eastbound in light traffic on I-90 I was just entering the Mount Baker tunnel when a car sped by me lost control swerved all the way over, slammed against one wall of the tunnel, bounced the other way across all the lanes and hit the opposite wall, then spun around sideways and stopped sideways right in the middle of the tunnel. I saw trouble coming right away, slowed and had my 4-way blinkers on before I even stopped. When the cars behind me stopped, I got out and ran up to his car. He was pounding the steering wheel, saying, sh-t, sh-t, sh-t! He looked like one of those young studs who is dumber than a bucket of rocks.
    Thats an extreme example, but there are an awful lot of people out there who brazenly act as though, and apparently think that, they are they are in the right, when they are flagrantly breaking the law, ignoring the rules of the road, and/or jeopardizing others.

  8. “Why don’t they make people show proof of insurance when they get there tabs.”

    because some idiot in Seattle would turn it into a ‘social justice’ issue. You know, as opposed to ‘equal justice’ which is in the constitution.

  9. I wonder of the 80 people without insurance actually have insurance and just don’t have an updated copy. The one time I got pulled over my copy in the was a month expired but I sent in proof of insurance and they cleared that. Since I’m not the one who does insurance, I don’t think of replacing the piece of paper every six months. I don’t think I’m the only one.

  10. So the top 2 were – busted for no insurance and driving while distracted – cell phone use. I think the police need to do this more often. I’m tried of paying insurance premiums to cover uninsured motorist and accidents due to people not paying attention.

  11. Reckless driving is silly? People are far more likely to be hurt or killed by reckless drivers than any other crime. And do you really think the detectives and lawyers working on molestation cases are being pulled off the job to catch reckless drivers on Aurora?

  12. sometimes child molesters and rapists are caught via traffic stops. criminals make really stupid mistakes and traffic stops are some of them.

  13. they gave a lot of advance warning that they were going to be doing this. I was initially peturbed, then I drove up and down in Aurora in the pouring rain yesterday and realized just how sucky those jobs are.
    there probably would’ve been even more tickets if the weather was nice.

    I see speed traps on Aurora all the time–this isn’t anything new, just a greater concentration

  14. Yeah, exactly, except that an awful lot of “professional drivers” are driving like crap out there too. Cab drivers are the worst and some of the bus drivers are pretty bad as well. I see buses run red lights all the time downtown, and I don’t mean the articulated bus is long and doesn’t make it through the yellow, I mean entering the intersection when the light is already red.

    The other day on Columbia I was stopped at a red light next to a bus and the bus took off 5-10 seconds before the light turned green so that they could merge in front of me before the entrance to the viaduct.

    And don’t get me started on the bus drivers who straddle the lanes on Aurora because they clearly aren’t comfortable driving a vehicle that large. I’ve never seen a truck driver do that, ever.

  15. Whatever it is, good! Write those tickets and gernerate funding for more police, or parks or other social services. Throw in wrong way parkers and sidewalk blockers while you’re at it. And if it happens to promote safer driving, added bonus.

  16. I appreciate patrols like this. I drove Aurora yesterday and it was a relief to see most people driving wayyyyy more safely than usual.

    And uninsured drivers just suck. I’ve been hit twice by uninsured drivers and they suffer few consequences for their irresponsibility.

  17. What a shame Seattle DA Pete Holmes refuses to enforce traffic laws when it involves African Americans and illegal immigrants, all in the name of ‘social justice’.

    Why aren’t all of Seattle’s car-hating liberals up in arms that the city doesn’t prosecute those drivers?

  18. Why then not lower the limit on Aurora to 25 so we all can get a ticket? Because this is more about $$ than anything else. If this is so important, why then not do it every other day? Because of 1 day we’re all supposed to believe what they tell us schlubs. Really? I’m all for obeying laws etc, etc, but I also am an adult that doesn’t need a friggin nanny. But they do just love you cerfs out there!

  19. The lane straddling is a violation and you should report the bus number when you see it. Report it by texting it in while driving over the speed limit of course.

  20. I actually got hit while at a stoplight and when the cops showed up I found out that my insurance had been cancelled. I had no idea since the cancellation notice went to my old address. The reason for cancellation? Failing to notify the insurance company of my new address even though I had when I renewed my policy. Nice. Rear ended by a drunk with no insurance who stumbled away without even a ticket and I got a $500 fine on top of the damage.

  21. Driving 101. If you’re on a multilane road and ANYONE is behind you, then you need to move to the right. Doesn’t matter what your speed is if you’re obstructing the flow of traffic.

  22. The advanced warning and the advertising is to get the point home. If they just wanted to make money they wouldn’t tell anyone. Apparently there are enough people breaking the laws that they can warn everyone and still not lack people to cite.

  23. Hey! I love Cerf too! Without him we wouldn’t have the opportunity to read your insightful comments on the intertubes!

    Also, my suspicion is that people who use words like “friggin” may in fact benefit by the services of a nanny.

  24. REally? So I guess Pete Holmes was lying when he was interviewed and said he’d asked his office and police to do just that..he said publicly that the city is not enforcing fines for suspended licenses because over 40% of such tickets are for black drivers. He believed that enforcing those fines caused economic hardship and were the result of ‘institutional racism’.

    So run a red light, don’t pay your fine, get a suspended license and the Seattle of Seattle will let you walk scott free. All in the name of social justice…not equal justice apparently.

    So safe driving folks.

  25. Cerf? Serif? Sherif? Sharif? Not sure what you’re calling us, but same to you buddy!
    Back on the real topic here…they could just increase the speed limit to 50 which is how fast everyone would go if they had to guess, but the problem is that with a few exceptions Aurora/99 doesn’t have highway exits even though a big chunk of it looks like a highway in every other way. Multiple lanes? check. Divided? check. Fairly straight? check.
    So why not just up the speed limit from Green Lake to the SoDo? Because we’d have to close off most of the streets that intersect 99 and change the ones that do into actual on ramps/off ramps. Parking would also be completely gone. In the long run I don’t think that this would really be a bad thing. A safer, faster, and more efficient 99, but the businesses on Aurora would freak out and cry bloody murder if anyone even mentions this.

  26. professional driver huh — if it’s not Formula One that mostly means the doctor and lawyer jobs were all taken up by doctors and lawyers.

  27. not to quibble but buses lane straddling doesn’t bother me — there is no room to get past the bus on the Aurora bridge anyway if it is technically only in one lane, so who cares if I need to wait 5 extra seconds to get across? Prolly saved me a speeding ticket anyway ….

  28. Ernie – you may need to notice that buses have their own lane and traffic light at Columbia and Second, so that 20-40 people on the bus can who aren’t driving 20 to 40 single occupant cars can get over to the middle lane in one block during rush hour.

  29. I didn’t notice that, but that would explain it. Seemed pretty brazen to just pull out like that.

    As for the 20-40 people on the bus, obviously the bus has the right of way over little ol’ me, and I always yield, it just *looked* like he ran a red light, that’s all.

  30. Lack of enforcement? Are you serious? A few years back I spent some time in Europe driving all over the place. The whole time I was there I probably saw 4 cop cars. When I got back to seattle I saw that many on the way home from the airport.

  31. What part of EU were you in? I always see police around town and the highway speed enforcement in Germany is fully automated. Notice that nobody speeds in the posted areas there?
    As far as cops on the road here, there are state patrol cops on the highway, but do you ever see anyone getting pulled over on the local streets here? Outside of the occasional school zone emphasis day and the Aurora speedtraps, there is no real traffic enforcement in the North Precinct. Do you know anyone who’s gotten a speeding ticket or other moving violation on the local streets around here?

  32. You can get a citation for no insurance by just not having your insurance card on you when you get pulled over. You mail them a copy of your valid insurance card and the violation goes away (well, after an “administrative fee” to handle all that paper work…).

  33. It is an issue for those of us who can stay in a single lane and move with the flow of traffic. Blocking a lane causes backups and backups cause collisions.

  34. FYI, the police and EMT are exempt from the cell phone law. If the radio system goes down or the police need to communicate with others on the phone they needed to have that option. Are all the calls police business? Maybe, maybe not, but they’re legal.

  35. I was told by a bus driver that they are legally allowed to straddle lanes when necessary for safety reasons. They do it often over the aurora bridge when they are travelling in the far right lane. Those lanes are pretty skinny for a big bus.

  36. I’ve been told otherwise. That driver may be saying that to justify his style of driving, but it just ain’t so. Chances are they won’t be ticketed for it, but that doesn’t make it legal.
    The bus isn’t passing another vehicle and is taking two travel lanes while not changing lanes. Doesn’t matter if the lanes are a little narrower than in other places, it’s still a legal lane and the bus will fit in it.

  37. OK, so there a some “upset” drivers who received tickets. Bottom line: don’t break traffic laws and you will not get a citation. How hard is that to understand?

  38. A professional driver is anyone who drives for a living. Some of the professionals are bad drivers. I have seen some bad bus drivers. My point was (I drove a thousand miles a week in this area in one of my driving jobs.) that people who are driving all day on these streets and roads for a living see god-awful sights every day. One of my co-workers hated it so much he made his wife drive and wouldn’t get behind the wheel of car when he was off!

  39. Don’t be afraid post under your real name, unless you complainers don’t want to advertise to the world who the scofflaws are.

  40. Neither, since they’re both politically loaded catch phrases invented to make you think something other than what the reality is. You’ve got a real talent for taking in twisted logic when it appeals to your more base instincts and fears. Get over your primitive fear of “the other” and you’ll be able to enjoy life a lot more when it’s not an us vs them scorecard.

  41. Trying checking your facts sometime instead of relying on paranoia. FAR more kids are killed by motorists than are killed by molesters and rapists. Automobiles are the number one cause of death of children under 18. Go look on the CDC website if you doubt this. If the goal of law enforcement is public safety there are few better ways to accomplish this than traffic enforcement. People may not intend to kill someone with their car but the fact is they do and dead is dead.

  42. Trying checking your facts sometime instead of relying on paranoia. FAR more kids are killed by motorists than are killed by molesters and rapists. Automobiles are the number one cause of death of children under 18. Go look on the CDC website if you doubt this. If the goal of law enforcement is public safety there are few better ways to accomplish this than traffic enforcement. People may not intend to kill someone with their car but the fact is they do and dead is dead.

  43. Amen! That stretch of Aurora is absurd and I do think there are many streets in Seattle where speed limits could be higher (15th in Ballard comes to mind as does 15th/Elliott through Interbay). Compared to other cities I’ve lived in speed limits in Seattle do seem be unusually low on major streets. I know part of this is partly due to the poor design of those streets but that can be changed.

  44. Really? When I was in Paris there were cops everywhere, even in August when the city practically shuts down for vacation. I didn’t see them writing tickets but that might be because in Europe you actually have to pass a serious driving test while in the US driver training is a joke and most Americans are horrible drivers. That’s not my opinion, that’s a fact. Just look at how many more crashes American drivers have for the same number of miles driven. It’s especially glaring when you realize that American roads have more traffic lights, more signs, and our cops write more tickets. The only thing we don’t have more of in this country is the one thing that would actually make the roads safer: serious driver training. We need to stop giving licenses to every mouth breather who feels it’s their right to drive. Driving is not a right.

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