Extra police patrols on lookout for impaired drivers

The patrols are part of Target Zero, which strives to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030.

North Olympic Peninsula law enforcement officers are part of a national effort to keep impaired drivers off the roads.

Extra patrols began Friday and will continue through Sept. 5. The Port Angeles, Port Townsend and Sequim police departments; the Clallam and Jefferson County sheriff’s offices; and the State Patrol are participating in the campaign through the coordination of the Clallam and Jefferson Regional Target Zero Traffic Safety Task Force.

Washington law enforcement officers are joining the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign aimed at encouraging everyone to get a safe ride, especially if alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter medicine, or other drug use might be causing any impairment.

“We want drivers to be as aware of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs as they are of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol,” said Darrin Grondel, Washington Traffic Safety Commission director.

In Washington state in 2015, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission found that:

• 251 impaired drivers were involved in deadly crashes.

• 20 percent tested positive for alcohol greater than 0.08 percent.

• 20 percent tested positive for a single drug.

• Nearly 60 percent tested positive for multiple drugs or drugs mixed with alcohol.

“When someone combines impairing substances, such as consuming marijuana and drinking alcohol, they may experience a greater level of impairment than they expected,” Grondel said.

“This data shows that combining alcohol and drugs, or one drug with another drug, can be a very deadly mix for drivers.

Nationally, the Labor Day holiday weekend is one of the deadliest times of the year in terms of drunken driving fatalities, according to the State Patrol.

During the Labor Day weekend in 2015, the State Patrol statewide made 146 arrests for driving under the influence and stopped 4,859 drivers for speeding. During the same time period, troopers were called to 277 collisions.

The 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.

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