DUI is the leading cause of death on Washington roadways, accountable for nearly half of the 439 fatalities on our roads during 2012. That’s why between August 16 and September 2 extra officers will be looking for drivers under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs during the annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.
Even though Washington legalized marijuana for adults 21 and older, it is still illegal and dangerous to drive under the influence of marijuana. Studies have found that marijuana-positive drivers are twice as likely to crash as other drivers.* Marijuana use can slow reaction time, decrease the ability of a driver to maintain lane position, and diminish the ability to pay attention to the tasks of driving. It also interferes with a driver’s ability to perform divided-attention tasks, such as steering and maintaining vehicle speed at the same time.
Officers can tell when a driver is experiencing other effects of marijuana influence such as relaxed inhibitions, altered perception of time and distance, disorientation, incomplete thought processes and increased pulse.
Snohomish County law enforcement is proactive and has made traffic safety a priority. One of the many top DUI performers is Officer Mark Brinkman of the Lynnwood Police Department. He has undergone additional training as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) which enables him to identify alcohol and drug impaired drivers. Brinkman has removed more than 3,000 impaired drivers from our roadways during his 27 year career. He says “Removing impaired drivers from our streets is a top priority for me. As a young officer, a teenage female passenger died in my arms from a DUI crash. She was in a car with an impaired driver who I had an opportunity to stop earlier in the evening, but didn’t after the driver did a slight burn out at a stop sign. I wish I had. It was prom night. It was something that changed my life forever.”
The goal of these extra patrols is to keep you and your family safe during this vacation travel time. If you see a DUI, please call 911. Remember, the safest thing is not to drive at all after drinking or using marijuana or other drugs.
Last year in Snohomish County, during the same time period, officers on routine and extra patrols arrested 176 people for DUI. For all of 2012, in Snohomish County, 3,578 people were charged with DUI.**
The Arlington, Brier, Edmonds, Everett, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Marysville, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace, and Mukilteo Police Departments, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol will participate in this Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign. The Bothell Police Department will also conduct patrols as part of the Snohomish County effort.
The Snohomish County DUI & Target Zero Traffic Safety Task Force organizes and supports this enforcement effort.
These and all extra patrols are part of Target Zero—striving to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030. For more information, visit www.targetzero.com. Additional information on the Washington Traffic Safety Commission can be found on the website, www.wtsc.wa.gov.