WSP, Other Western States Partner to Enforce Safe Driving on New Year’s Eve 

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The Washington State Patrol (WSP) will join 10 other western states’ law enforcement agencies with emphasis patrols over the New Year’s holiday. 

The Western States Traffic Safety Coalition (WSTSC) will initiate a special effort this New Year’s Eve to ensure dangerous driving behaviors don’t result in the loss of life and injury due to collisions on roadways, said the coalition in a news release. WSTSC is made up of 11 state organizations, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety, California Highway Patrol, Colorado State Patrol, Idaho State Police, Montana Highway Patrol, Nevada Highway Patrol, Oregon State Police, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Utah Highway Patrol, Washington State Patrol and the Wyoming Highway Patrol. 

These law enforcement agencies are committed and unified in keeping the public safe during this holiday, said the news release. 

“We enjoy the opportunity to work with our neighbors of the west to give a unified message to the traveling public — slow down! Drive sober and pay attention. And know that law enforcement works together and will always do what is necessary to keep dangerous drivers off our roads and keep you safe during the holidays,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. 

This New Year’s Eve emphasis on impaired driving will be the third WSTSC joint initiative in recent years with leaders from each agency working together to make sure that roadways are well covered and state borders pose no dropoff in vigilance against unsafe driving, said WSP in a news release. 

“We receive constant feedback from Washingtonians that underscores the public’s demand that law enforcement strictly enforce laws that protect our loved ones and the traveling public. Impaired driving, speed and distracted driving can turn holidays from a time of celebration to a time of sorrow and we are going to do all we can to keep that from happening,” Batiste said. 

Last year, there were over 10,000 people killed nationwide in impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one third of the yearly driving fatalities, according to the news release. 

An average of 300 people die in the U.S. each year in impaired driving crashes alone the week between Christmas and New Year’s, according to the news release.

“These deaths are 100% preventable. The tragedy of these deaths is felt year-round, but for many, most strongly during the holidays,” said WSP. 

Between Christmas and New Year’s Day last year, WSP made 359 arrests for impaired driving, according to the news release. 

“This shows that people are still making poor choices. Because of those choices, the WSP will be out looking for these impaired drivers, in hopes that all travelers arrive safely,” said WSP. 

The state patrol reminds drivers that driving while impaired by any legal or illegal substance, including alcohol and marijuana, is against the law in all states. 

The WSTSC encourages everyone to plan ahead, especially when celebrating holidays, and to never get behind the wheel impaired or in a car with an impaired driver, always obey speed limits and remember that bad weather conditions may decrease the appropriate speed on any road at any time. 

“Most of all, make sure you get home for and back from the holidays safely,” said WSP. “We want you to be around for a great New Year in 2022!”