Extra patrols target impaired drivers

KENNEWICK -- Law enforcement in Benton and Franklin counties, as well as law enforcement across the state, have been participating in impaired driver patrols since Thanksgiving weekend and will continue through New Year's day.

Participating locally in the "Drive Hammered, Get Nailed" campaign are the Kennewick, Richland and Pasco police departments, the Benton and Franklin county sheriff's offices and the Washington State Patrol.

Impaired driving is the leading factor in traffic deaths in Washington. Last year, impaired drivers contributed to the deaths of more than half of the 491 people who died on Washington's roadways.

Impaired driving continues to be the No. 1 factor contributing to traffic deaths nationally and in Washington, and is therefore the top priority for traffic safety professionals across the country. Every life lost at the hands of an impaired driver is preventable, which makes each tragic death even more painful to the families and friends who suffer the loss of a loved one.

Although this emphasis patrol is occurring during the winter, law enforcement statewide conducts extra DUI enforcement throughout the year.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission pays for grants for the extra patrols, which is a part of Washington's Strategic Highway Safety Plan, also known as "Target Zero." The goal of Target Zero is to eliminate all traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030. For additional information about the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, go to www.wtsc.wa.gov

Please do your part and make good decisions regarding drinking and driving. A designated driver is not the person who drank the least alcohol but the person who consumed no alcohol. Help us to have a happy New Year.

* If you have a question that you would like to see answered in the "Kennewick PD Traffic Corner" column, please send those questions to Sergeant Ken Lattin at trafficinfo@ci.kennewick.wa.us or mail to 211 W Sixth Ave., Kennewick, Wa. 99336.

* Sgt. Lattin supervises the Kennewick police traffic unit and is the law enforcement liaison representing the Benton & Franklin County Law Enforcement to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission in Olympia.