PORT ORCHARD — Law enforcement agencies throughout Washington state have a singular message for motorists planning to be on the road through the Labor Day weekend: don’t even think about driving while impaired.
Drivers impaired by alcohol or other drugs stand a greater chance of being pulled over by law enforcement during the holiday break because an additional 150 DUI patrols will be on Kitsap County roadways during this time of increased impairment, which often lead to fatalities.
To reduce traffic deaths, traffic safety officials offer a message for motorists who consume alcohol or other drugs: plan before you party.
“We conduct the ‘Plan Before You Party’ campaign during the busy summer travel time because we want everyone to get home safe,” said Mark Medalen, Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s impaired driving program manager.
“Planning ahead for a safe ride is especially important for the small number of Washington drivers who mix alcohol and cannabis.”
From 2012 to 2017, Washington experienced a 15-percent-per-year increase in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who were impaired from more than one substance, known as poly-drug drivers. Alcohol and cannabis are the most frequent combination affecting drivers involved in deadly crashes.
“The good news is that most Washington drivers are concerned about traffic safety and agree that impairment begins as soon as you start consuming alcohol and cannabis,” Medalen said. “We must focus on turning concern to action by making a plan before you party or helping others who are impaired get a ride, use rideshare or public transportation.”
From 2013 to 2017, nearly 75 percent of cannabis-positive drivers in fatal crashes were also positive for other drugs and/or alcohol. Poly-drug drivers are now the most common type of impaired driver involved in fatal crashes, according to the agency.
Kitsap County law enforcement agencies, including city police departments in Bremerton, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, Suquamish and Naval Base Kitsap, and the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol, are participating in the DUI patrols in the county.