Troopers on lookout for impaired drivers

Local Washington State Troopers are reporting they will be out in full force to catch impaired drivers this holiday season.

“The season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in drunk driving,” said Captain Mark Thomas, District 8 Commander of the Washington State Patrol. “That’s why we will be working extra shifts and conducting emphasis patrols to catch and arrest anyone who is driving while impaired.

Thomas said his office’s message is simple: You drink and drive, you lose.

“We know there are going to be holiday celebrations and office parties this time of year where alcohol will be consumed,” he said, “so your best bet is to always designate a sober driver before the parties begin.”

District 8 spokesman Brian George said during the first 20 days of December, troopers responded to 43 collisions and arrested 30 people for driving under the influence.

George said much of the activity in Kitsap County centered on State Routes 16, 160 and 166.

The WSP also released tips to avoid driving drunk or driving with someone who is drunk:

• Always designate a sober driver before the party begins.

• Always take the keys and never let a friend or family member leave your sight if you think they are about to drive while impaired.

• If you’re impaired, call a taxi, a sober friend or family member to get you home safely.

• Always buckle up – it’s your best defense against an impaired driver.

• Spend the night where the activity is being held and sleep it off.

According to WSP statistics, impaired driving is one of America’s deadliest problems. In 2004, over 15,000 people died in alcohol-related crashes involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a BAC level of .01 or higher; of those, nearly 13,000 had an illegal BAC level of .08 or above.

For more information about the importance of stopping impaired driving, please visit

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