Extra DUI patrols now to Labor Day | Washington Traffic Safety Commission

A new report shows a spike in percentage of fatal crashes caused by drivers impaired by multiple substances.

  • Tuesday, August 14, 2018 10:05am
  • News

The following is a press release from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission:

Law enforcement agencies across Washington will increase DUI (Driving Under the Influence) patrols August 17 through September 3 to keep drivers safe during what is typically the deadliest time of the year on the state’s roadways.

The Pierce County Traffic Safety Task Force, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board, the police departments and sheriff’s offices from Sumner, Bonney Lake, Fife, Puyallup, Ruston, University Place, Lakewood, Fircrest, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, and Pierce County, and the Washington State Patrol will participate in the emphasis patrols in search of drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Drivers impaired by alcohol, marijuana and other drugs are involved in nearly half of all traffic deaths in Washington. In 2017 alone, 250 people were killed in such crashes.

“These tragedies are completely preventable,” said Darrin Grondel, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC). “As a community, we can end DUI-related deaths. We are asking for help. If you are in the position to prevent someone else from driving impaired, please be bold. Offer to call them a ride or give them a safe place to sober up.”

A new WTSC report provides insights into what has become the most common form of driver impairment — poly-drug use (two or more drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs). Beginning in 2012, the number of poly-drug impaired drivers involved in fatal crashes has increased by an average of 15 percent every year.

As of 2016, one in four of all Washington traffic deaths involve a poly-drug impaired driver. The most common combination is alcohol and marijuana.

Misconceptions about marijuana use, especially among young drivers, could be one factor in this trend. A statewide roadside survey included in the WTSC report shows that of the young drivers (ages 15-20) who admit to driving after marijuana use, more than half believe marijuana makes their driving better.

“This is an especially dangerous belief if, for example, a driver uses marijuana to compensate for the consumption of another substance that impairs driving ability, such as alcohol,” said Staci Hoff, PhD, Research Director, WTSC. “The deadly consequence of combining these two particular substances is very apparent in all our fatal crash data.”

WTSC is encouraging people to “Make a Plan Before You Party” in order to get home safe.

“There are so many ways to travel safely, from taxis and ridesharing apps to public transportation, that driving drunk or driving high should never be an option.” said Grondel. “Just a few minutes of advance planning can prevent a terrible tragedy and costly arrest.”

For more information and ideas for making a plan before you party, visit wadrivetozero.com/DUI.

More in News

East Pierce Fire and Rescue, Pierce County Library System nearly ready to celebrate midterm results

As of Nov. 14, both property tax proposals have just inched past the finish line, but with ballots still to be counted, it may be too early to count those chickens.

Expect a vote on new Bonney Lake water, sewer rates

On Nov. 13, the Bonney Lake City Council may finally settle an issue they’ve been researching for two years.

East Pierce sends aid to California first responders battling fires

Three local firefighters are expected to reach the Woolsey fire later today, Nov. 12.

White River fish passage project under way

The old 1940s system was designed to haul 20,000 fish annually. Now the facility has to be upgraded to handle 20,000 a day.

King County approves gun warning sign requirement

Warning signs must be posted in all King County gun stores and firing ranges.

Nearly two million Washingtonians at risk of diabetes | Department of Health

But 10 out of 11 people are unaware they live with prediabetes.

Children’s entertainer Eric Ode to lead workshop

Register now, because space is limited.

Citizens can weigh in on Enumclaw budget, property tax rate

Public hearings on the budget will be held Nov. 13 and Nov. 26.

Most Read