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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Getting There: Speeding drivers have lots of company, a new survey shows

A car heads north on Perry Street in Spokane on July 8, 2014. The posted speed limit is 20 mph. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
A car heads north on Perry Street in Spokane on July 8, 2014. The posted speed limit is 20 mph. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

If it seems like more drivers are going over the speed limit these days, it’s not a mirage.

A new poll conducted for PEMCO Insurance showed a 15 percent increase over the past six years in the number of drivers who admit to being speeders.

Derek Wing, spokesman for PEMCO, said speed brings with it the potential for more damaging crashes and more serious injuries.

“It’s not worth it to try to shave a few minutes off your commute,” he said.

The survey showed 65 percent of drivers admitted to going over the posted speed at least some of the time. That compares with a similar survey in 2011, in which 51 percent of drivers admitted to speeding.

Drivers who speed had their excuses.

Some said they were trying to keep up with fast traffic. Others said they find themselves speeding when they are not paying attention to the speedometer.

Also, drivers may believe they won’t get caught if they keep their speeding within 5 mph over the posted speed, the survey found.

The survey of 600 drivers in Washington and 600 in Oregon showed that 60 percent of drivers think it is acceptable to drive at least 5 mph over the posted speed.

Eastern Washington drivers were included in the survey.

Wing said there is some thought that the increase in congested roadways in both states has led to driver impatience. They step down on the gas pedal when lanes open, possibly to make up for lost time.

Drivers surveyed also supported raising the speed limit to 75 mph on rural freeways.

Wing said that if the speed limit is increased to 75 mph, drivers will then think it’s acceptable to go 80 mph.

Kristine Zewe, an underwriting quality analyst for PEMCO, said more speed results in more severe accidents, which creates upward pressure on car insurance rates.

However, she said the company does not quantify how much rates are going to increase because of the increase in speeding.

Zewe cited a finding by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that speeding costs $52 billion a year in property damage, injury, court fines and lost work.

“That does impact rates,” she said of the losses.

“De-stressing your life would be helpful,” Wing said. “Leave earlier for work.”

The survey was conducted by FBK Research, of Seattle, and has an accuracy rate of plus or minus 4.1 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

In other words, if the study were conducted 100 times, 95 of those surveys would have the 4.1 percent margin of error.

PEMCO was established in 1949 in Washington and has expanded its service into Oregon.

Pothole repair work

slated for Interstate 90

Pothole repair on Interstate 90 through Coeur d’Alene is scheduled to start Monday from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Crews will grind down and repave damaged sections between mileposts 15 and 20. The work will last about four days during the same hours as the Monday night schedule.

Newport rail crossing

getting safety upgrades

The Newport rail crossing at Union Avenue and U.S. Highway 2 is going to get a $39,700 grant for safety upgrades.

The grant comes from Washington state’s grade crossing protective fund and was requested by city officials in Newport.

The city wants to align the gates so they are parallel to the tracks, replace the aging asphalt over the crossing and rebuild the pedestrian walkway to make it handicapped accessible. The city also will install detectable warning surfaces and pavement markings to outline the pedestrian pathway.

Currently, the crossing is used by one train a day moving at 10 mph, according to a news release from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Weather brings out

rash of potholes

Along with the snow, ice and resulting meltdown last week, the city witnessed an early start to pothole season.

Thawing temperatures allowed freeze-damaged pavement to break free, leaving some nasty holes for drivers to dodge.

On the North Side, Division Street south of the North Hill was one of the worst spots.

Post Street and Maxwell Avenue had plenty of holes, too. The problem is being seen on older surfaces across the region.

Holcomb Road work restricts traffic

Spokane County is repairing Holcomb Road culverts at Deadman Creek. One lane of traffic is open.

Stormwater project

excavation begins

In Spokane, excavation starts on Monday for a new stormwater holding facility in the block bounded by Second Avenue, Perry Street, Pacific Avenue and the Hamilton Street embankment.

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