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Extra holiday DUI patrols set for Kent, King County Nov. 21 to Jan. 1

Kent Police will join other King County police agencies with extra DUI patrols Nov. 21-Jan. 1. - COURTESY PHOTO
Kent Police will join other King County police agencies with extra DUI patrols Nov. 21-Jan. 1.
— image credit: COURTESY PHOTO

To help make Washington roads safe this holiday season, extra officers will patrol roadways in Kent and throughout King County as part of the annual “Drive Sober Get Pulled Over” campaign.

Patrols start Nov. 21 and run through Jan. 1, according to a Washington Traffic Safety Commission media release.

The agencies participating in the extra patrols include:

The Auburn, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Burien, Clyde Hill, Covington, Des Moines, Duvall, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Newcastle, North Bend, Pacific, Port of Seattle, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Seatac, Seattle, Snoqualmie, Tukwila, and Woodinville Police Departments and the Washington State Patrol.

As an example of what can happen if convicted of DUI, Lynn Ross spent more than $1,200 paying for the ignition interlock that he had to have installed on his Dodge truck.

The device is about the size of a cell phone with a tube for breath samples. Like many in King County, Ross, a Spokane Valley resident, had to blow into it every time he started his truck every day for 14 months. The truck would only start if there was no alcohol in his system.

Despite the cost and the hassle—he had to switch to alcohol-free mouthwash and wait for a few minutes in the morning for the machine to warm up, Ross, a union carpenter, is thankful for the ignition interlock program.

“It’s a good program,” he said, according to the media release. “It kept me from drinking and helped me get my license back.”

Keeping the ability to legally drive, even during his suspension period, meant being able to keep his job since his work requires him to travel throughout the Pacific Northwest region. “I wouldn’t have a job if I couldn’t drive. It was a very positive experience for me, but I was done drinking.”

For someone who was still drinking, Ross said the ignition interlock might be a more negative experience.

Ever since January 2012, ignition interlock drivers have to have a record of clean blows for the last four months of the restriction in order to get the device removed and be eligible for their regular driver’s license.

“This ensures that drivers demonstrate the ability to separate their drinking from their driving,” said Washington Traffic Safety Commission director Darrin Grondel.

As the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” holiday campaign begins, Grondel urges drivers to plan ahead.

“Don’t let a DUI ruin your holidays," he said. "Before you leave home for a holiday party, think about how everyone can get home safely. Designate a sober driver, take a taxi, stay the night.”

For additional information about the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, visit www.wtsc.wa.gov.

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