Holiday DUI patrols to begin on Thanksgiving Day

November 16, 2011

By Staff

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NEW — 2:15 p.m. Nov. 16, 2011

Thanksgiving is the launch date for a statewide campaign to nab drunken drivers throughout the holiday season.

The effort starts Nov. 24 and runs through Jan. 2. The campaign means beefed-up DUI enforcement on Newcastle and King County roads, as the Newcastle Police Department, Washington State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies join the crackdown.

Washington law enforcement officers advise all holiday partygoers to designate a sober driver, call a cab or choose not to drink alcohol.

Officers in King County on routine and extra patrols arrested 876 people for DUI during the same period last year.

In addition to Newcastle police, officers in nearby Bellevue, Issaquah, North Bend, Renton, Sammamish and Snoqualmie plan to participate in the extra DUI enforcement.

The anti-DUI effort is organized under the King County Target Zero Task Force, a regional effort to crack down on unsafe driving practices. Target Zero managers coordinate the extra patrols. In addition, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission provides support.

Target Zero’s goal is to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries statewide by 2030.

Washington Traffic Safety Commission officials joined Carol and Frank Blair — the parents of a woman killed in a February 2010 drunken-driving crash — to remind people not to drink and drive.

Sheena Blair died in Everett after a sport-utility vehicle hit her vehicle in a head-on crash. The driver of the SUV had a blood-alcohol level almost three times the legal limit of 0.08.

“Don’t let our story become your story” Frank Blair said in a statement. “Call a cab. Call a friend. Plan ahead. No matter who you are, someone loves you.”

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