'Drive hammered, get nailed' begins

Between Aug. 12 and Sept. 6, extra DUI patrols will travel Clallam County roadways in search of impaired drivers.

This "Drive Hammered, Get Nailed" will be the largest summer DUI enforcement campaign, with 171 agencies participating statewide including the Port Angeles and Sequim police departments, Clallam County Sheriff's Office and Washington State Patrol.

During the summer months - July through September - Washington experiences the greatest number of alcohol- or drug-impaired driver-involved traffic deaths (31 percent of the impaired driving deaths were in the summer months in 2000-2009). Labor Day weekend is one of Washington's deadliest holidays, averaging more than seven deaths each year.

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. The 264 impaired driver-involved deaths in 2009 represent a decrease of nine fatalities compared to the previous five-year average of 273.

How many people in Washington died in collisions involving an alcohol- or drug-impaired driver?

2005 285

2006 301

2007 272

2008 255

2009 264

"Impaired driving continues to be the No. 1 factor contributing to traffic deaths both 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, said Lowell Porter, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Although this emphasis patrol is during the summer, law enforcement statewide conducts extra DUI enforcement throughout the year. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission funds grants for the extra patrols called X52, 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.

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