The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) has launched its annual Summer DUI High Visibility Enforcement campaign, which is ongoing through September 5. Washington road deaths reached a 20-year high in 2021, with 663 fatalities, and August saw the highest number of fatal crashes.
WTSC’s efforts to curb road fatalities have included increased traffic safety patrols throughout the state this summer, with more than 100 law enforcement agencies currently posting extra High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) patrols through Labor Day weekend.
“We have historically seen an increase in fatal crashes around Labor Day festivities, but having visible enforcement on our roads will encourage folks to drive safely, drive sober, and buckle up,” said Mark McKechnie, director of external relations for WTSC. “Our goal is not more tickets or arrests. We simply want to encourage responsible driving so that everyone in Washington has a safe holiday weekend.”
A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that an increase in such patrols has resulted in a noticeable reduction in dangerous driving behaviors. The Governors Highway Safety Association has also found that combining enforcement, visibility and publicity is an effective strategy to decrease DUIs and alcohol-related road deaths.
The DUI emphasis coincides with a new phase in WTSC’s ongoing “Together We Get There” campaign, which is one of the WTSC’s largest ever public education initiatives. A recently produced video PSA, titled “Friends Like You,” highlights ways that people can prevent their friends and loved ones from driving impaired by offering a sober ride, calling a ride share, or providing a place to sleep. This continues WTSC’s aim of sustaining safe driving behaviors and preventing DUIs by reminding the public to only drive sober.
“Together We Get There” promotes proactive traffic safety through a community-based approach, and the initiative took on even greater importance after Washington’s road fatalities reached record highs. These ads have been running on social media, TV and radio, video and audio streaming services, and community-based media outlets in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean and Somali.
“Everyone, in communities across our state, plays a role in the safety of our roads,” McKechnie said.