While working overtime to provide extra patrols for two and a half weeks, law enforcement officers across the state arrested nearly 1,800 motorists for reportedly driving under the influence.
Several times throughout the year the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission funds extra patrols for enforcement of seat-belt laws, intoxicated driver laws and other injury and fatality risk-related offenses.
In Washington state, the No. 1 factor contributing to traffic deaths is driver impairment. During 2007 alone, traffic crashes killed 571 people on Washington's roadways, according to reports from the commission. Impaired drivers accounted for nearly half of the total percentage of deaths at 263.
The Drive Hammered - Get Nailed program is not the only enforcement emphasis funded by the commission. It also provides for X52, which provides added enforcement every week of the year as part of the state plan to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries in the state by 2030, a plan called TargetZero.
According to the director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, Lowell Porter, the efforts may be paying off.
"We are pleased to report this year's Drive Hammered - Get Nailed crackdown helped make the Labor Day holiday a safer one than Washington had in 2007," Porter said in a press release.
The program, which included law enforcement officers from state patrol to city police, ran from Aug. 15-Sept. 1.
"This year Washington had four traffic fatalities during the holiday weekend and we are proud to announce that none involved drugs or alcohol," Porter said. "It has been six years since a Labor Day holiday was free from a traffic death due to alcohol."
Officers in Clallam County arrested 21 motorists, compared to six in Jefferson, 92 in Kitsap and 30 in Grays Harbor counties. There were 23 arrests in Clallam County in 2007.
The Clallam County Sheriff's Office was responsible for three of the county's arrests. Sequim Police had one. Port Angeles Police had three and Washington State Patrol had 14.
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