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State Patrol to be out in force on I-5 here for Labor Day weekend

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SNOHOMISH COUNTY — Labor Day is one of the busiest driving holidays as people head out for one last summer trip, and this year we’re going to have company on the open road – the Washington State Patrol.

copThe WSP isn’t messing around; it’s beefing up patrols on the ground and in the air over Interstate 5 in a bid to make the highway safer for everybody.

“With aircraft in the air, we can hit our lights off, go normal speed and let aircraft fly over top of them,” said trooper Mark Francis.

“Things from the air really stand out,” said Sgt. Kirk Rudeen. “The vehicle that’s speeding by traffic really stands out; the one that’s tailgating really stands out. The one that’s moving rapidly through traffic stands out.”

The State Patrol has dozens of extra troopers working overtime this weekend to catch problem drivers.

Statistics indicate the stretch of I-5 between Northgate and Marysville is especially dangerous.

“We’ve seen a series of injury fatal collisions and overall collisions,” said Rudeen. “We’ve looked at the data; we’re deploying all resources for this weekend in this area.”

With the planes and the extra units, the patrol is confident they can cut down collisions over the three-day break. And with all the special events downtown, troopers expect to be busy.

Officers are also cracking down on drivers talking on the phone or texting.

“It’s not about how many tickets we can write; it’s about how many collisions we can reduce,” said Rudeen.

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