Idaho, Wash. law enforcement increase DUI patrols



Posted on December 26, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 26 at 6:41 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Idaho State Police want drivers to remember troopers are keeping a close eye on the roads this holiday season.

Extra DUI emphasis patrols are currently in effect, and additional officers are specifically looking for anyone driving under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance.

Troopers say prescription medication can even be considered an intoxicating substance, even if it does not directly affect a person’s driving ability.

Idaho’s patrols run through Jan. 2.

Those emphasis patrols cross the state line into Washington, especially as New Year’s Eve approaches.

Triple A calls that night the deadliest day on U.S. roads, and alcohol-related wrecks are a large factor.

WSP says more people get out on the road after drinking at this time of year. Troopers have been out heavily because of this since Dec. 21.

In the last ten years, WSP in Eastern Washington says there have been three fatal crashes on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on interstates, highways and state routes. While that number might sound small, it still makes the agency want to work hard to continue to protect drivers.

“Every DUI we take off the road is potentially one less death notification we have to make, and that’s important to us,” Troy Briggs with WSP says.

Drinking while driving is a problem the agency faces all year.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, one-third of highway deaths nationwide have involved an alcohol-impaired driver. In 2011, more than 14 percent of drivers admitted to driving when they though they were close to, or perhaps even over the legal limit.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission says nearly half of the fatal crashes in Spokane Co. involved an impaired driver.

WSP’s emphasis will end Jan. 2.