Looking at fatal car crash trends in the Tri-Cities

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- A fatal car accident on Friday took the life of a College Place woman. She was killed when a driver dangerously tried to pass another car on Highway-12.

These types of accidents car scar a family forever, but on state roads there are actually fewer deadly car wrecks these days than in the past.

Ramiro De La Mora looks at pictures on his phone and says, "We took that in San Diego at La Jolla, he was right next to me when I took that picture."

Ramiro De La Mora will never forget his brother. It was 2 years ago. Marco De La Mora died after a wreck on I-82.

Ramiro says, "It was Sunday after Thanksgiving."

Marco had been driving the wrong way on the freeway and hit another family head-on, killing two people. Marco hadn't been drinking. His family will never know why he got on the road in the wrong direction. Fatal collisions like this one, change lives forever.

"He was my best friend," says Ramiro.

If you can look past the hurt, there is some positive news for drivers.
Fatality car crashes are way down on state roads in the Tri-Cities.

In 2010 and 11, there were eleven deadly collisions through October. In 2012, there has been four. State Patrol attributes the decrease to more troopers on the roads and adding more shifts.

Lt. Mike Saunders tells KEPR, "Our enforcement is up in almost every area that we track."

You can see here that total stops made by state troopers rose 10% in the Tri-Cities. Tickets for aggressive driving are up by a third. Overall collisions are down 6%.

"So I think that's a big contributor as to why the fatality collisions are down."

"That's something positive to hear. I have cousins that are starting to drive, my daughters in a couple years."

And fatal collisions affect everyone on and off the road... Using more time, resources and tax dollars, but for law enforcement, it's not enough. They see first hand how much even one collision hurts a family.

Ramiro says, "When you have that person there forever and then to know he's not there, it's the hardest thing to wake up to."

"This is what we want to prevent," Lt. Saunders responds.

The report is not as good in our neighboring areas. If you include districts in Walla Walla, Sunnyside and Yakima, there have been 21 fatal collisions so far this year, which is close to being on track with last year. That includes the deadly wreck on Highway 12 last week. In an effort to make the roads safer, better lines will be painted on highway-240 starting tomorrow night. The state says the stripes will be thicker and easier to see.