The Washington State Patrol will join 10 other western states law enforcement agencies in conducting emphasis patrols over the New Year’s Holiday.
The Western States Traffic Safety Coalition will initiate a special effort this New Year’s Eve to ensure dangerous driver behaviors don’t result in the senseless loss of life and injury due to collisions on our roadways, a state patrol announcement said. The coalition is made up of 11 states that include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
This New Year’s Eve emphasis on impaired driving will be the third WSTSC joint initiative in recent years, with leaders from each agency working together to make sure that roadways are well covered and state borders pose no drop off in vigilance against unsafe driving.
“Impaired driving, speed and distracted driving can turn holidays from a time of celebration to time of sorrow and we are going to do all we can to keep that from happening,” Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste said.
An average of 300 people die in the U.S. each year in impaired driving crashes alone the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Last year, there were over 10,000 people killed nationwide in impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third of the yearly driving fatalities.
Between Christmas 2020 and New Year’s Day 2021, the WSP made 359 arrests for impaired driving.
Driving impaired by any substance — alcohol or drugs, whether legal or illegal — is against the law in all states, the state patrol noted. Law enforcement officers are trained to observe drivers’ behavior and to identify impaired drivers. Even in states where marijuana laws have changed, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of the drug.
The Western States Traffic Safety Coalition encourages everyone to plan ahead, especially when celebrating any holiday, and to never get behind the wheel impaired or in a car with an impaired driver. Always obey speed limits and remember that bad weather conditions may decrease the appropriate speed on any road at any time. Wear your seatbelts and keep you focus on the road, not your cell phones or entertainment devices.