Each summer in Washington State, an average of 149 people die in traffic crashes. That is the deadliest season of the year on our roads.
During all of 2016, impaired drivers were involved in crashes that resulted in 277 deaths and another 371 serious injuries. These crashes are tragic and adding to the tragedy, they are completely preventable.
That is why extra DUI patrols, including the Snoqualmie Police Department, will be out statewide from Aug. 18 through Sept. 4. The patrols will be looking for drunk or drugged drivers, and will uphold all traffic laws.
In King County, in addition to Snoqualmie, the Algona, Auburn, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Burien, Clyde Hill, Covington, Des Moines, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Lake Forest Park, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Pacific, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, SeaTac, Seattle, Shoreline and Tukwila Police Departments will all be taking part in the patrols. In addition, the Washington State Patrol, and the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board will be canvassing the roadways in search of impaired drivers.
The importance of these patrols is close to the heart of Jack Fletcher of Battle Ground. He was a happy and motivated teenager who loved fire science. When he graduated from Prairie High School in June 2014, he headed to Central Oregon on a full ride scholarship with the Crook County Fire & Rescue’s student firefighter training program.
Six weeks later, everything changed, when he was hit head-on by a drunk driver.
Jack spent five days in a coma. His right arm was broken in three places. He lost fingers on his right hand and his right eye is blind. The impact shattered almost every bone in his face. He couldn’t talk. He couldn’t walk. He had traumatic brain injury.
Today, Jack can’t play rugby or go snowboarding. His dream of becoming a fire fighter has been put on hold. He has a new job with the Boys and Girls Club. He’s volunteering for Clark County Fire and Rescue. Jack frequently talks at high school assemblies, driver education programs, at the Portland Legacy Emanuel Hospital’s court-ordered DUI program, and at church groups, to share his story and encourage others to make good decisions.
His message: Drive sober and don’t let your friends drive if they’ve been drinking or using marijuana.
The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is designed to encourage all drivers to make the right choice. Designate a sober, drug-free driver, take a cab, catch a ride share, Uber, Lyft or walk with a friend.
These 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.