Your hunch is right: There were more crashes in late 2016 | KUOW News and Information

Your hunch is right: There were more crashes in late 2016

Mar 17, 2017

The Washington State Department of Transportation has confirmed what drivers have been suspecting: Crashes are causing more traffic delays.

State crews cleared more than 15,000 traffic incidents in the final quarter of last year, 20 percent more than in 2015.

Most of the time they had the mess cleared in a few minutes. But about 200 crashes took several hours. And 11 incidents were so bad that workers needed nearly eight hours to get traffic moving again.  

The state didn't say why traffic incidents are up. However, growth means more cars are driving more closely together.

Which was why the tanker truck overturned last month and shut down I-5 for most of the day. And remember how an overturned fish truck paralyzed downtown Seattle a few years ago?

Since then there's been pressure to get traffic moving more quickly. The state says the average time it takes to clear a road has dropped by 13 percent.