Number of fatal traffic accidents in Washington last year was the highest since 1990


An initial report from the WA Traffic Safety Commission showed 745 people died in crashes in 2022, the most since 1990.

PARKLAND, Wash. — The number of people killed on Washington roads reached levels the state hasn’t seen in decades. Preliminary reports from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission showed 745 people were killed in crashes in 2022.

Amber Weilert’s son Michael loved to make people smile and loved to ride his bike.

“I have pictures of him riding his bike since he was probably three years old,” Amber Weilert said.

Weilert is now trying to cope after losing Michael six months ago. Michael was hit and killed in a crosswalk while cycling in Parkland on July 19th. Troopers said Michael did everything right.

“It’s been devastating. A lot of crying, a lot of trying to live in this new life without Michael. There’s such an empty space,” Weilert said.

A record number of families across the state are dealing with the same loss. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s initial reporting shows last year had the highest number of traffic deaths since 1990. The commission said impairment is involved in more than half of the deadly crashes.

“We are very alarmed and concerned about the increases we’ve seen. We’ve seen pretty significant increases year over year from 2019,” said Mark McKechnie, Director of External Relations at the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

The rate of the year-over-year increase is something the commission said it hasn’t seen since the 1970s.

The commission is supporting proposed legislation that would lower the state’s legal blood alcohol level (BAC) for DUI offenses from 0.08% to 0.05% 

“Having seen 745 fatalities on Washington roads in 2022 we really think it’s time to lower the BAC limit  to 0.05% so that we can really reduce the incidence of impaired driving on our roads and keep everyone safer,” said McKechnie

Currently, Utah is the only state that enforces a BAC of 0.05% and the commission said Utah has seen a dramatic decrease in crashes.

If passed, the legislation would go into effect on July 1, 2023.

Weilert is also turning her pain into action. She’s teaming up with lawmakers to testify for an update to the “Cooper Jones Act”  which requires drivers involved in serious or deadly crashes to have their license re-examined. 

Governor Jay Inslee took notice too. His proposed budget allocates three million dollars to fix the crosswalk where Michael was killed and others like it along Pacific Avenue.

“There might be a mom one day who doesn’t even know her child was saved and won’t know to say thank you, but Michael knows,” Weilert said.  


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