‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ runs through Sept. 2 in Snohomish County

DUI is the leading cause of death on Washington roadways, accountable for nearly half of the 439 fatalities on the state’s roads during 2012. That’s why — between Friday, Aug. 16, and Monday, Sept. 2 — extra officers will be looking for drivers under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other drugs during the annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign.

Even though Washington legalized marijuana for adults aged 21 years and older, it is still illegal and dangerous to drive under the influence of marijuana. Studies have found that marijuana-positive drivers are twice as likely to crash as other drivers. Marijuana use can slow reaction time, decrease the ability of a driver to maintain lane position and diminish the ability to pay attention to the tasks of driving. It also interferes with a driver’s ability to perform divided-attention tasks, such as steering and maintaining vehicle speed at the same time.

Officers can tell when a driver is experiencing other effects of marijuana influence such as relaxed inhibitions, altered perception of time and distance, disorientation, incomplete thought processes and increased pulse.

The goal of these extra patrols is to keep you and your families safe during this vacation travel time. If you see a DUI, please call 911. Remember, the safest thing is not to drive at all after drinking or using marijuana or other drugs.

Last year in Snohomish County, officers on routine and extra patrols arrested 176 people for DUI during the same time period. For all of 2012, 3,578 people were charged with DUI in Snohomish County.

The Arlington, Marysville and Everett police departments will be joining those of Brier, Edmonds, Lake Stevens, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Monroe, Mountlake Terrace and Mukilteo, as well as the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol, in participating in this “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. The Bothell Police Department will also conduct patrols as part of the Snohomish County effort.

The Snohomish County DUI & Target Zero Traffic Safety Task Force organizes and supports this enforcement effort.

These and all extra patrols are part of Target Zero, which is striving to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030. For more information, visit www.targetzero.com. Additional information on the Washington Traffic Safety Commission can be found at www.wtsc.wa.gov.