MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Why you should keep an extra eye out for DUI drivers this New Year’s

Dec 31, 2018, 10:26 AM

“Don’t drink and drive” may seem like a pretty basic point — something anybody can get behind. Still, however, Washington has been plagued by drunk drivers in the year leading up to New Year’s Eve. Tonight is when people flock to celebrations across the state, and law enforcement will emphasize DUI patrols.

Let’s consider a few points from 2018. Just as the year was getting underway, it was already notable that the number of traffic-related fatalities was considerably high.

By summer, state troopers already noticed an unusually high spike in numbers of drunk drivers being pulled over with children in the car. Dramatic video caught a high-speed truck vs doughnut shop crash in Auburn. A collision on SR 18 near Tiger Mountain claimed the life of a mother and daughter who were on their way to work.

Most recently, state troopers spent the month of December (following Black Friday) taking hundreds of impaired drivers off Western Washington roads. More than 300 drunk drivers were pulled over in King County between Black Friday and Christmas.

Over last week, that number jumped to over 400. Meanwhile, Pierce and Thurston County officers made more than 100 DUI stops. Pierce County deputies are now trained to take blood at the scene of a pullover to get the most accurate blood-alcohol levels for suspected DUI cases.

RELATED: King County offering free New Year’s bus rides
RELATED: Time for drunk driving checkpoints in Washington?
RELATED: Where Seattle used Uber, Lyft the most in 2018 (and other insights)

On New Year’s Eve, impaired drivers are particularly noticeable. Even where you may not expect it. Just take it from ferry passenger AJ Johnson, who told KIRO 7: “It’s bad. Women have come up and manhandled me, dudes come up and dump beer on me. Stuff like that.”

Washington State Ferry officials are therefore keeping an extra eye out this New Year holiday for impaired drivers who shouldn’t be driving off the boat.

“Almost every year, we have an incident on New Year’s Eve, or early New Year’s morning, of somebody visibly intoxicated, either causing trouble on board or driving under the influence of alcohol,” said Justin Fujioka with Washington State Ferries.

DUI: Options for transportation

Washington state troopers are continuing DUI emphasis patrols — that are already underway — over New Year’s Eve. It’s important for drivers to note that just because you’re OK to drive, it’s a good idea to watch out for others on the road who aren’t.

“Not only the things inside your vehicle — your passengers, your phone — all of those things can be distractions,” said Sergeant Julie Fisher with the Washington State Patrol. “And if you add marijuana or alcohol, you are slowing your reaction times, and increasing your odds of having a tragedy occur.”

King County Metro is offering free rides between 7 p.m. Monday (New Year’s Eve) to 4 a.m. Tuesday. Sound Transit is also running light rail lines until 2 a.m.

The taxi ride is a classic. And don’t forget the convenience of Uber and Lyft.

And remember, just because it isn’t a car, hopping on a bikeshare bike parked outside your bar isn’t much better than getting behind a wheel.

MyNorthwest News

Sen. Marko Liias...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Washington Democrat exposed for lying about carbon tax, I-2117

Senator Marko Liias flat-out lied about the Washington I-2771 carbon tax repeal while using his official government account.

5 hours ago

ufo, uap...

Micki Gamez

Washington continues to be a UFO hot spot

Seattle has become a hot spot for UFO sightings, with 86.5 sightings per 100,000 residents annually between 2000 and 2023.

5 hours ago

Image: Police detectives in Tacoma are asking for the public's help to identify the suspect respons...

James Lynch

Tacoma police search for suspect as stabbing victim tells her story

A Pierce County woman who was nearly stabbed to death in Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park is telling her story of a vicious attack and fight for her life.

6 hours ago

The Washington State Cougars take the field against the Oregon State Beavers at Martin Stadium on O...

Matt Markovich

Lawmakers hear dire circumstances of WSU being ‘Couged’ by former Pac-12 schools

The University of Washington’s departure from the Pac-12 Conference has created financial uncertainty for Washington State University (WSU).

6 hours ago

Image: Police detectives in Tacoma are asking for the public's help to identify the suspect respons...

Steve Coogan and Bill Kaczaraba, MyNorthwest

Woman stabbed in Point Defiance crime: ‘I can’t believe I survived’

On Feb. 10, the victim was walking at Point Defiance Park when was attacked by an unknown man, the Tacoma Police Department reported.

7 hours ago

FILE - Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch walks off the field after NFL football practice...

The Associated Press

Marshawn Lynch to pay a fine, attend DUI traffic school, but no conviction

Former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch resolved a drunken driving case without a trial or DUI conviction Wednesday, 18 months after police found him asleep in the driver’s seat of a damaged luxury sports car in Las Vegas.

7 hours ago

Why you should keep an extra eye out for DUI drivers this New Year’s