Motorists should be sure to plan safe rides home during the Super Bowl weekend, because the Target Zero teams in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties will be out looking for impaired drivers.
"Football fans look forward to spending the day with family and friends watching the game, the commercials and the halftime show," Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas said. "Part of everyone's game plan should also include a safe ride home."
Traffic crashes kill and seriously injure thousands of people in Washington state each year, and impaired driving is a leading cause of these crashes. The Target Zero teams have been very effective in deploying law enforcement to areas where high numbers of motorists have died because other drivers got behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs.
"Traffic deaths are down 23 percent overall in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties when compared to the previous five years," Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick said. "Impaired driving deaths are down 47 percent, and speed-related fatalities are down 48 percent. Our goal is to reach zero traffic deaths and disabling injuries by the year 2030."
"Make arrangements prior to kick-off," said John Cheesman, chief of the Fircrest Police Department and chair of the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force. "Line up a sober driver or tuck the phone numbers for taxis in your pocket. Ensure a safe ride home and you will steer clear of law enforcement this weekend."
If you are attending a party or watching at a sports bar or restaurant:
• Designate a sober driver before the party begins and leave your car keys at home.
• If you don't have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend or family member to come and get you; or just stay where you are.
• Never let a friend get behind the wheel of their vehicle if you think they are about to drive while impaired. Remember, "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over."
• Always buckle up — it's still your best defense against other impaired drivers.
If you are hosting a party:
• Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in an impaired-driving crash.
• Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange ride-sharing with other sober drivers.
• Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who is thinking of driving while impaired.