Summer celebration and a holiday weekend combine to make Labor Day a weekend notorious for big parties, where alcohol is a common part of the equation. As everyone is out celebrating this weekend, we encourage you to drink responsibly and choose a designated driver. Keep yourself and those around you safe.
Washington State Patrol issued a media release a couple of weeks ago to alert drivers that Washington State Troopers will be out in force. Increased patrols have been in place since August 19, and will run through Sept 5. This is timed with Labor Day weekend, which is one of the deadliest times of the year around the country. Labor Day weekend sees heightened rates of drunk-driving fatalities nationwide. The presence of the extra patrols are part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign and Washington’s Target Zero campaign, aiming to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030. Please see the media release for further information, including drunk-driving statistics from 2015.
In Seattle, a designated DUI Squad is on hand. Officers go through training to become Drug Recognition Experts. They are on call to respond to serious collisions and to assist in evaluating the impairment of drivers. The Squad will undoubtedly be out in force this Labor Day weekend.
We urge you to understand what is at stake if you choose to drink and drive:
- Driving under the influence puts at risk your own life and the lives of others.
- You could also be looking at large fines, jail time, drivers’ license suspension, and the long term impacts of a criminal record. Please see our prior post for a list of the current penalties and fines for DUI convictions in Washington State.
- Employment, relationships, and immigration are other areas that can be adversely affected
Before you set out to celebrate, please review our party planning tips to help you stay safe:
- Choose to drive sober or designate someone else to. If you are the designated driver, don’t drink.
- Plan ahead: Have a game plan for your way home, leave car keys at home, and plan ahead to NOT drink and drive.
- Use smartphone apps like Uber or Lyft.
- If you have been drinking, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, use a rideshare company, or use public transportation to get home safely.
- If you know others who are about to drive under the influence, help them make other arrangements to get home safely.
If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being charged with DUI, please contact an attorney immediately. These are significant charges and you should not try to tackle them without experienced counsel to advise you appropriately and advocate on your behalf.