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What To Do if You see a Suspected Drunk Driver

What are the telltale signs?

This is one sample of news releases customized by county throughout the state.

August is a deadly month on Washington’s roadways. From 2006 – 2010, on average, more impaired driving deaths occurred in August than any other month.* That’s why between August 17 and September 3 extra officers will be looking for DUI drivers during the annual Drive Hammered, Get Nailed campaign.

It’s up to all of us to keep our roads safe. So, what are signs of an impaired driver? Drunk drivers can exhibit a variety of behaviors depending upon impairment level. For example, those who know they are impaired:

  • Travel slower than the posted speed limit
  • Appear to be drunk (face close to the windshield)
  • Slow responses to traffic signals, sudden stops, tapping of brake lights
  • Travel side to side within and outside of their lane

Those who don’t think they are impaired generally drive a little more aggressively and:

  • Speed
  • Follow too closely
  • Change lanes abruptly (weaving in and out of traffic)
  • Travel side to side within and outside of their lane

    The combination of one or more of these behaviors may alert you that you are near a drunk driver, so what do you do?

    DIAL 911. Though dialing 911 is encouraged only for emergency situations, what could be more important than potentially saving lives?

    Last year in Kittitas County, during the same time period, officers on routine and extra patrols arrested 34 people for DUI. For all of 2011, in Kittitas County, 555 people were charged with DUI.**

    The Central Washington University, Ellensburg, and Cle Elum/Roslyn Police Departments, the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington State Patrol will participate in this Drive Hammered, Get Nailed campaign.

    The Kittitas County Traffic Safety Task Force organizes and supports this enforcement effort.

    * According to Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

    ** According to the Administrative Office of the Courts: http://www.courts.wa.gov/caseload/?fa=caseload.showReport&level=d&freq=a&tab=CourtLevel&fileID=rpt07