Drivers going 90+ mph on Tri-Cities highways

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Xavier Medrano admits he speeds in his Mini Cooper.

He says, "I'll be doing 60, or 65, I speed myself quite a bit."

But he knows he's not the only one.

"It's noticeable when you see a lot of cars flying by you," Xavier continues.

The Washington State Department of Transportation set up meters that tell them how fast cars are going on local highways. Across the entire state, part of Highway 240 in Richland and part of I-182 in Pasco are ranked in the top ten for people driving the fastest. State Patrol covers those freeways, pulling people over.

Troopers tell me that they catch at least one driver every day who's going over 90 miles per hour.

And the data backs that up. The DOT found more than 6,000 drivers were going over 90 as they flew into downtown Richland and G-W Way last year. That's 30 miles per hour over the speed limit.
It's worse on I-182 near Road 68. Almost 13,000 drivers were clocked by the meters going over 90. That's like every person in the entire city of West Richland.

Xavier says, "That's ridiculous, there's no reason to be going that fast."

Well some do have a reason. It's important to consider that these numbers do include emergency vehicles, like an ambulance, rushing out to an emergency call.

"We exceed the speed limit because we have to get there in a timely manner," Trooper Brian Bond says.

Those cases are in the minority. For most of us, driving that fast is just dangerous. High speed is a factor in almost every deadly collision.

"If you're going at 90 miles per hour, and you see something in the roadway, you're not going to be able to stop, as opposed to if you were going 70," Bond explains.

It's enough for Xavier to keep a close eye on the drivers around him. A ticket for going 20 miles over the posted speed limit can be considered reckless driving. That's a criminal offense and can result in a $400 ticket.