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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

Increased DUI patrols coincide with Labor Day weekend

Washington state troopers will be increasing DUI patrols as part of a partnership between themselves, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The increased DUI enforcement is also part of an effort called Target Zero that aims to eliminate traffic deaths in the state by 2030. During the Labor Day holiday in 2015, police said that they pulled over 4,859 drivers for violating the speed limit.

Furthermore, they also took 146 people into custody for DUI and responded to 277 traffic collision calls. Traditionally, the Labor Day holiday is one of the most dangerous when it comes to deaths related to drunk driving. In 2015 overall, there were 251 drivers who were impaired when they were involved in a fatal accident in the state. It was found that approximately 60 percent of those drivers were impaired on multiple drugs or drugs and alcohol at the same time.

Of those drivers, 20 percent tested positive for a single drug while another 20 percent had a blood alcohol content of greater than .08 percent with no drug impairment. The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative started on Aug. 19 and will continue until Sept. 5. A zero tolerance policy will be in effect, and authorities encourage everyone to get a ride if they have been drinking or are impaired after using prescription drugs.

Those who are charged with DUI may face penalties such as jail time, a fine or a license suspension. They may also face probation or community service among other options available to a judge. An attorney may be able to create a defense to the charge such as a driver was unable to speak clearly to an officer because of a medical condition or speech impediment that mimicked signs of drug or alcohol impairment.

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