Uptick in semitrucks crashing on Tacoma freeways prompts emphasis patrol this week

With a recent uptick in semitrucks crashing on Tacoma freeways, troopers are doing emphasis patrols on Interstate 5 and state Route 16 this week.

The Washington State Patrol said it would target the Route 16 interchange and both directions of I-5 from state Route 512 to the King-Pierce county line near Fife.

The emphasis patrols end Friday.

Troopers will be on the lookout for speeding, left-lane violations, distracted driving, following too closely, not wearing seat belts, unsafe lane changes and aggressive driving.

Although there were no fatal collisions with commercial vehicles in Pierce County last year, at least six semitrucks have crashed in as many months.

The emphasis patrol was sparked because “the recent high profile collisions in the ongoing construction zone warrant” it, according to a State Patrol news release.

Officials believe the narrower lanes and rain-slicked roads contributed to the crashes.

Lanes are usually 12-feet wide but are 11-feet wide in the construction zone, according to the state Department of Transportation.

There will be future emphasis patrols in the area, but they won’t be announced, Trooper Johnna Batiste said.

Stacia Glenn covers crime and breaking news in Pierce County. She started with The News Tribune in 2010. Before that, she spent six years writing about crime in Southern California for another newspaper.