Extra DUI patrols will save lives

By Heather Acheson, Columbian staff writer

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Sunday afternoon, traffic slowed on Highway 14 as it approached a State Patrol vehicle parked on the shoulder of the road with emergency lights flashing. The trooper had made a traffic stop and was in the process of administering a field sobriety test to a woman suspected of driving under the influence.

As she struggled to follow the officer’s directions and put one foot in front of the other, the image was a reminder that those who drive drunk do get caught, and if found guilty their lives are undoubtedly changed forever.

Most of us are certainly guilty of making some unfortunate choices in our lives, but those who choose to drive after drinking or doing drugs make a decision that could cause emotional harm, physical injury or death to someone who was doing nothing more than trying to get from one place to another.

In an effort to prevent drunk driving tragedies, the Camas Police Department will join law enforcement agencies across the state by participating in extra patrols beginning Friday.

In Clark County, the DUI patrols will be increased though a grant funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and supported by the Clark County Target Zero Traffic Safety Task Force. This is government money well spent.

According to the WTSC, traffic deaths in Washington that involve a drunk and/or drug impaired driver are highest during the summer months — when people are attending parties and other celebrations. From 2005 through 2009, more than 20 percent of all impaired driver-involved traffic deaths occurred during June and July.

Let that woman who did get pulled over on Sunday be a cautionary tale for those who may consider driving after a few drinks. It’s just not worth it.

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