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Patrols plan to target drunken, high drivers

The Columbian
Published: December 11, 2014, 12:00am

Local police are joining law enforcement agencies around the state in doing extra patrols targeting impaired drivers in Clark County between now and the new year.

The effort comes in the wake of early results from a June survey measuring Washington driver impairment.

Many drivers said they did not think marijuana degraded their driving ability, and a quarter thought it made them a better driver, the survey said.

“It’s extremely troubling to me that so many marijuana users think that driving high is not a problem. It’s a serious problem,” said Darrin Grondel, Washington Traffic Safety Commission director.

From 2009 through 2013, more than 1000 people died in impaired driving collisions in Washington, according to the safety commission. Impaired driving is involved in nearly half of all traffic deaths and more than 20 percent of serious injury collisions.

Being convicted of driving under the influence carries up to a year in jail, a $5,000 fine and a loss of one’s license, along with higher insurance rates and attorney fees.

In Clark County, the Battle Ground, Camas, La Center and Vancouver police departments, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol will participate in the extra patrols, with the support of the Clark County Target Zero Traffic Safety Task Force.