DUI's (Driving Under the Influence)

  • DUI's in Washington State.  Washington State law requires anyone arrested for a second DUI charge be taken to jail.  Prosecution will result in an interlock system to be installed on the suspect's car within 5 days of release.  The suspect will be required to submit to daily testing for alcohol and drugs, plus electronic monitoring of people convicted of multiple drunken-driving offenses as an alternative to incarceration.  (This bill was sponsored by Senator Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley.  Gov. Jay Inslee called these tougher DUI standards "an important step in saving more lives."  Olympia, June 2013)

  • The legal blood alcohol limit in the state of Washington is 0.08 percent.

  • Declining Breath Tests.  Spokane County has a zero-tolerance task force called “Refusing to be Refused.”  Anyone who declines a breath test will have a judge called on the spot, and a warrant will be issued for a blood draw within minutes.  More than 80% of drunk drivers in the U.S. refuse to take a breath test.  Those who refuse in Spokane County will be hauled off to jail.

  • Drug-impaired driving has become a bigger problem in the U.S. than drunken driving.  For the first time, tests on dead drivers show more had drugs than alcohol.  The public needs to know that it is unsafe to drive high.  43% of fatally injured drivers with known test results tested positive for drugs, while 38% tested positive for alcohol.

    Some may think they drive better while using marijuana, which is not true.  Marijuana can increase crash risk by 22 to 36%.  The report recommends that states develop education campaigns, which can include discussing drugged driving in driver education classes, and informing physicians and pharmacists about risks from driving on prescription drugs. 
    (Source:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data for 2015; The Governors Highway Safety Association; the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility; "Report:  'Drugged' driving major issue," by Mary Wisniewski, Chicago Tribune, April 27, 2017) 
Statistics
  • For the first time, statistics show that drivers killed in crashes are more likely to be on drugs than drunk. 

    Forty-three percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, eclipsing the 37 percent who tested above the legal limit for alcohol, according to a report released Wednesday by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.  Of the drivers who tested positive for drugs, more than a third had used marijuana and more than 9 percent had taken amphetamines."

    "As drunken driving has declined, drugged driving has increased dramatically, and many of today’s impaired drivers are combining two or more substances,” said Ralph S. Blackman, president of the foundation, a nonprofit founded and funded by a group of distillers.
Among fatally injured drivers with known test results, 2015 was the first time that drug use was more prevalent than alcohol use.
Every state bans driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The opioid epidemic — heroin use and the abuse of prescription drugs — is well established. In 2015, more than 33,000 people fatally overdosed on opioids, almost equal to the 35,095 people killed that year in all traffic crashes.
In Colorado, marijuana-related traffic deaths increased by 48 percent after the state legalized recreational use of the drug.  (Source:  “Drugged driving eclipses drunken driving in tests of motorists killed in crashes,” by Ashley Halsey III, The Washington Post, April 28, 2017)

What You Can Do
  • Tips to avoid a DUI

    • Even one drink can impair judgment and reaction time and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or causing a crash.

    • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving; but designate a sober driver before the party begins.

    • Call a taxi or a sober friend or family member, use Uber or Lyft, or use public transportation.  Also try the SaferRide mobile app, which allows users to call a taxi or friend and identify their location, so they can be picked up.

    • Help others be responsible.  If you see someone you think is about to drive while impaired, take their keys, take them home, or help them arrange a safe ride home.  (DUI, The Spokesman-Review, December 2016) 

  • Lower the blood alcohol limit to save lives.  Utah lowered the blood alcohol limit for drivers from 0.08 to 0.05 to save lives.  The change means a 150# man would be over the 0.05 limit after 2 beers, while a 120# woman could exceed the limit after a single drink, though that can be affected by a number of factors.  (Source:  American Beverage Institute, March 2017)