OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has announced a joint effort with 10 other western states’ law enforcement agencies to provide enhanced patrols over the New Year’s holiday.
According to a WSP news release, the Western States Traffic Safety Coalition (WSTSC) “will initiate a special effort this New Year’s Eve to ensure dangerous driver behaviors don’t result in the senseless loss of life and injury due to collisions on our roadways.”
The coalition is made up of 11 states that include the Arizona Department of Public Safety, California Highway Patrol, Colorado State Patrol, Idaho State Police, Montana Highway Patrol, Nevada Highway Patrol, Oregon State Police, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Utah Highway Patrol, Washington State Patrol and the Wyoming Highway Patrol.
WSP Chief John R. Batiste said that he and his agency “enjoy the opportunity to work with our neighbors of the west to give a unified message to the traveling public – Slow down! Drive sober and pay attention! And know that law enforcement works together and will always do what is necessary to keep dangerous drivers off our roads and keep you safe during the holidays.”
This New Year’s Eve emphasis on impaired driving will be the third WSTSC joint initiative in recent years.
“We receive constant feedback from Washingtonians that underscores the public’s demand that law enforcement strictly enforce laws that protect our loved ones and the traveling public,” Batiste added. “Impaired driving, speed and distracted driving can turn holidays from a time of celebration to time of sorrow and we are going to do all we can to keep that from happening.”
An average of 300 people die in the US each year in impaired driving crashes alone the week between Christmas and New Year’s, according to the WSP.
Last year, more than 10,000 people killed nationwide in impaired driving crashes accounting for nearly one-third of the yearly driving fatalities.
“These deaths are 100% preventable,” the WSP news release stated. “The tragedy of these deaths is felt year-round, but for many, most strongly during the holidays. Last year between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the WSP made 359 arrests for impaired driving. This shows that people are still making poor choices. Because of those choices, the WSP will be out looking for these impaired drivers, in hopes that all travelers arrive safely.”
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