New WSP team cracks down on local DUI driving

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on August 3, 2013 at 8:11 AM

Updated Saturday, Aug 3 at 8:21 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A new team of Washington State Patrol Troopers entered their first month looking for DUI’s in the area, and they have made a lot more arrests than usual.

Six WSP Troopers and a Sergeant have focused on making DUI arrests since July 1 in an effort to stop a deadly problem in Washington.

"Impaired driving is one of the leading causes of traffic fatality collisions in the state," said Trooper Paul Wanzenried.

In July, the Target Zero Team made 55 arrests in the Spokane area.  The average for this time of year is 20.

"Drivers who've been in collisions and possibly killed someone and have been on their sixth or seventh DUI,” Trooper Wanzenried said. “That's what we want to stop."

WSP says those arrests can prevent things like the 11 DUI-related crashes that had happened in the greater Spokane region in July.  It is not all about DUI’s, however.  Troopers also look out for people not wearing their seat belt or driving too close to other cars.

"This is one of those ones you really need to put on, it will save your life," added Trooper Wanzenried.

Wanzenried and the Target Zero Team are working toward the goal of bringing down the number of deaths so no one has to lose their life in a crash.

"If those two or three or five people were a family member or loved one or your spouse, your children, that obviously is not acceptable, so the only acceptable number is zero."

Funding from a national grant is paying for the program.  It runs for two years and could be renewed after that.

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