Driving in December: Holiday DUI Emphasis Patrols

Scott Robbins Nov. 27, 2019

The holiday season is upon us. Black Friday marks the official rush of the gift giving season. However, that is not all that starts. Holiday DUI patrols are quickly approaching. Various approaches vary depending on where you live but the main focus is a greater emphasis on impaired driving by all Law Enforcement agencies. Many local law enforcement agencies and Washington State Patrol have already started their emphasis patrols and will continue them through the New Year. The Department of Transportation’s official emphasis starts on December 13th and runs through January 1st. These emphasis patrols are specifically targeting impaired drivers. What this means is that officers will stop a larger amount of people for relatively smaller things with the goal of finding impaired drivers on the road. Burnt out tail lights, not using a blinker, and other minor infractions are all good reasons for officers to stop you and determine if you are also impaired. So, if you have been putting off that broken head light, now is a good time to get it fixed.

These emphasis patrols are in place to protect all of us during the Holiday season. Impaired driving in the United States accounted for over 800 deaths in the month of December 2018 alone.[1] From 2012 to 2016, 28% of fatal crashes in the month of December were the result of drunk driving.[2] King County experienced 53 deaths from drunk driving in 2017.[3] Law enforcement officers are aware of the increased impaired driving and the danger they cause and are actively trying to keep everyone safe. Think about your loved ones and the loved ones of other families this holiday season when you decide to enjoy the spirits of the season.

The state of Washington has strict impaired driving laws.[4] Upon arrest for impaired driving there is a potential 90 day administrative license suspension and your vehicle will automatically be towed and held for 24 hours at a minimum. [5] The cost of defending a DUI often runs upwards of $10,000.00[6] and often still includes a criminal conviction and other requirements including mandatory AA meetings, an ignition interlock in your vehicle, and 24/7 alcohol monitoring. Many people find themselves missing work and struggling to find transportation after losing their license. Don’t spend your money and time trying to fix a DUI during the holidays, spend it with loved ones.

With the rainy and gloomy weather across Washington, it is a great time to stay inside and wash down those snacks and cookies with a delicious holiday drink. But keep in mind that a $75 Uber, Lyft, or Taxi (Yes! They still exist) is cheaper than hiring an attorney and risking a criminal record. Please stay safe and protect yourself and others during this great time of the year. Happy Holidays!

P.S. The Uber and Lyft app are available on the iOS app store and google play store.

[1] 2019 Holiday Season Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over: Products for enforcement action kit: Fact sheet

[2] NHTSA Transportation Tuesday: Holiday Drunk Driving Facts

[3] Washington Traffic Safety Commission: Target Zero Statewide Priority

[4] RCW Ch. 46.61

[5] RCW 46.20.308 and RCW 46.61.5055

[6] 2019 Holiday Season Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over: Products for enforcement action kit: Fact sheet