With so many people hitting the road for all those summer holidays, parties, weddings and other activities, law enforcement agencies across the state are stepping up DUI patrols to help get impaired drivers off the road.
The two-week statewide campaign launching this weekend is timed to coincide with what’s been dubbed “The 100 Deadliest Days” on our roads.
“We know that over 30 percent of our traffic deaths in this area and across Washington state actually happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day,” says Annie Kirk, King County Target Zero Officer.
In the last six years, 961 people have died on Washington’s roadways during the summer season from alcohol related accidents and other factors.
While a number of high profile DUI related traffic deaths have happened this year in Western Washington, Kirk insists the patrols and other efforts have made a significant difference.
“We have seen a reduction across the state of Washington and also in King County for all traffic deaths and also deaths related specifically to impairment,” she says.
The emphasis patrols supplement ongoing DUI
enforcement across the state.
“We actually look at data across the state to see when and where we’re seeing some of the biggest problems and that’s where we invest our resources to supplement those regular patrols that are out every evening,” Kirk says.
The goal isn’t just to arrest people. According to Kirk, the hope is by publicizing the emphasis patrols, drivers will make other plans and not get behind the wheel when they’re intoxicated.
In the meantime, a new measure to strengthen Washington’s DUI laws remains stalled in the state legislature as lawmakers continue their stalemate over the budget.