Deadly Crashes May Lead to Further Changes on Highway 395
In the wake of three recent fatalities, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is considering changes to Highway 395 between Pasco and Ritzville.
As part of the Target Zero statewide initiative, WSDOT aims to reduce the number of deadly and serious injury crashes to zero by 2030.
Despite the addition of deceleration, acceleration and turn lanes in problem spots on the 76-mile stretch of roadway, high impact collisions continue to happen.
"We are taking steps to review the speed limit along 395 and see if it's appropriate to reduce the speed limit. We're also taking a look at maybe opportunities to increase the sight distance while entering from the side roads." WSDOT Spokesperson Megan Lott said.
Studies by the Washington State Patrol show crashes that result in fatalities often occur when drivers fail to look in both directions while crossing highway 395. They neglect to yield to oncoming traffic, making it difficult for highway drivers to react and slow down.
The speed limit from Pasco to Ritzville is 70 miles per hour.
"So, it's critical that drivers are aware that they need to look both ways. Make sure they're giving themselves plenty of time and gauging the vehicles traveling on 395." Lott added.
Data from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission show the number of deadly crashes climbed from 539 in 2020 to 709 in 2022. About half of those crashes occurred on state highways and freeways. The crashes happen more frequently over the weekend during evening/overnight hours.
Missing Persons in Washington State
Gallery Credit: Brian Stephenson