Authorities increasing law enforcement for the holidays
YAKIMA, Wash.- During the holiday season, there's more people on the road, and tons of holiday parties, which in turn means more impaired drivers on the road. Washington will be increasing DUI patrols until the new year to help increase safety.
"Typically alcohol consumption is up during the holiday time and that means more impaired drivers. We are trying to keep an eye out for that. As well as more people in town for the holidays, so you end up with more cars on the road and you wind up with impaired drivers, it can be a recipe for disaster," said Sgt. Jim Moore, Yakima Police Department.
Washington Traffic Safety Commission reports that in between now and New Years, more than 100 people on average in Washington will be arrested every day for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Yakima, we have the highest reported DUI's in the state.
"We know that there is an impaired driving problem in the area of Yakima as well as other cites, and of course you kind of add fuel to the fire over the holidays when there's more alcohol being consumed," said Moore.
Since 2011, the amount of people who have died in DUI related crashes has doubled. Funding from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission will allow 160 law enforcement agencies across the state to dispatch more police cars looking for DUI's. State Patrol Trooper Sarah Clasen says law enforcement will be checking all road areas during the holidays.
"We work county roads, we work in town, we work where the traffic so there's no easy way to slide in the back way home. County units are out, city units are going to be out, we are having an extra emphasis control throughout all the agencies in the area," Sarah Clasen, State Patrol Trooper.
Marijuana, prescription drugs, or any substance that can impair your driving can result in a DUI. Authorities are urging the public to plan ahead so that you aren't at risk during the holidays.
"If you're going to be drinking alcohol, make sure you have a ride home. Whether it be a taxi or a ride share program, or just a designated driver. If you have any questions about if you should be diving or not, you probably shouldn't be, so make sure you make plans for that," said Moore.