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Washington State Patrol has unveiled the Hit-and-Run Alert system, a new initiative aimed at enhancing the detection and recovery of vehicles implicated in severe hit-and-run accidents.

The system was established following legislative approval earlier this year, fostering collaboration between state, local, tribal law enforcement, and the Washington State Department of Transportation. With more than 300 serious hit-and-runs recorded last year in the state resulting in fatalities or grave injuries, the necessity for improved measures became evident. WSP Chief John Batiste emphasized that many of these incidents held valuable information about the escaping vehicles, which if shared effectively, could have facilitated the capture of the responsible drivers.

The Hit-and-Run Alert system operates based on stringent criteria: collisions resulting in severe injuries or fatalities, the availability of descriptive data regarding the suspect vehicle, and ongoing law enforcement inquiries. Alerts will be disseminated to the media and subscribed individuals electronically. Local law enforcement public information officers will also share alerts on social media platforms. WSDOT will deploy its electronic highway Variable Message Signs and Highway Advisory Radio systems to notify the public and aid in locating the vehicle.

Chief Batiste underscored the public's role, urging prompt reporting to 911 if vehicles matching alert descriptions are spotted. However, he emphasized refraining from engaging with suspect vehicles or drivers, emphasizing the importance of safety.

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