SPOKANE, Wash. — Drivers in Washington and Idaho can expect to see more law enforcement on the road over the next two weeks. Both states will have extra patrols on the highways in an effort to combat drunk and drugged driving.
The Washington State Patrol will have impaired driving emphasis patrols from Dec. 17 to Dec. 31. Troopers will be watching for drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In the Spokane area, 61% of roadway deaths between 2016 and 2020 were caused by impaired driving, according to the Spokane County Target Zero Task Force. A similar patrol in November led to five impaired driving arrests in the area.
Idaho State Police and other law enforcement agencies in the state will also have increased patrols looking for DUI drivers. The emphasis patrols begin Dec. 17 and continue through New Year’s Eve weekend.
Traffic fatalities in Idaho are at a 15-year high, according to the Idaho Transportation Department Office of Highway Safety (ITD OHS). So far in 2021, at least 254 people have been killed in traffic crashes in Idaho. That’s the most traffic fatalities in a single year since 2006.
43% of all traffic fatalities in Idaho in 2020 were related to impaired driving, and police say 71% of the people killed in those crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
"Putting others at risk with dangerous driving behavior is simply not acceptable. ISP Troopers join our partner agencies and our communities in having zero tolerance for impaired driving," said Sgt. Justin Scotch of the Idaho State Police District 1 DUI Team based in Coeur d'Alene in a written statement.
Idaho State Police shares this advice for drivers this holiday season:
- Talk with friends and family about the importance of driving sober and, as a passenger, never getting into a vehicle with a driver who may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Plan your safe ride home before alcohol clouds your judgment;
- Choose a non-drinking friend as a designated driver;
- Arrange for a ride share service or taxi.
- If you're hosting a party where alcohol will be served, serve non-alcoholic beverage options.
- If someone you know is about to drink and drive, take the keys away and help with arrangements to get them a safe ride.
- Always wear your seat belt - it's your best defense against impaired drivers.
- If you see what could be an impaired driver on the road, call 911.
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