WSP: Snow storm's hidden danger: abandoned vehicles

BELLEVUE - Saturday's winter snow storm brought several inches of snow to Western Washington, and depending on where you were, varying driving conditions.  The storm also brought a hidden danger:  vehicles abandoned along freeways and state roads. Some drivers who couldn't handle the snow and the treacherous road conditions, just abandoned their cars and trucks, according to Washington State Patrol (WSP).

Preliminary figures from WSP on collisions and impounds:

District 1 (King county) 160 collisions and 44 impounds

District 2 (Pierce, Thurston) 200 collisions and 12 impounds

District 7 (Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan and Snohomish) 111 collisions, (unknown number of impounds) during the storm.

WSP Trooper Chris Webb (District 1) said that one of the biggest problems troopers encountered was having to deal with abandoned vehicles that were blocking the roadway or were left in hazardous areas.

WSP impounds abandoned vehicles because they are not only traffic hazards, but other drivers going by them, will call 911 to report the vechicles.  Webb says that those calls are unnecessary and they take 911 dispatchers away from potentially more important calls.

WSP Trooper Mark Francis (District 7) says that WSP contracts with commercial tow companies, to remove abandoned vehicles.  The standard rate that vehicle owners will face when they go to reclaim their abandoned/towed vehicle: $178 flat fee for the tow; an additional fee for every quarter hour that it takes the vehicle to be towed; and a $45/day storage fee.