Three weeks after a 17-year-old died in a DUI accident in Thurston county, two teens died in a wrong-way accident on the West Seattle Bridge. The crash was caused by a driver who was allegedly impaired, investigators with the Seattle Police Department (SPD) said. As these tragedies continue to make headlines, officials worry that DUI accidents are becoming a growing trend in the state.
Discussing the problem with reporters, officials with the Washington State Patrol (WSP) said that DUI crashes have increased each year since 2019. In 2022, WSP investigated 2,900 DUI accidents and so far in 2023, officials already registered 518 accidents caused by impaired drivers.
DUI Accident Increase In Washington Is ‘Tragic’: WSP Official
In an interview with local news outlets, WSP Trooper Robert Reyer said that the surge in DUI accidents is a growing concern among officials.
“It’s tragic for us to go to these collisions and see what can happen when somebody is not able to drive safely anymore,” he said.
Instead of driving while impaired, which is against the law, Trooper Reyer added, drivers should use one of the many options available. Call a taxi or use one of the many available ride-sharing apps. Drivers can also organize themselves ahead of time and make sure they have a safe ride home before going out to drink.
He also urged Washington drivers to help prevent DUI accidents by calling 911 if they spot a potentially impaired driver. With this information, law enforcement agents can check on the drivers themselves to properly assess the situation and pull over the driver if necessary.
“We are very thankful for tips from the public, for people calling 911 and guiding us in the right direction,” he explained.
Washington DUI Accident Deaths On The Rise
Impaired drivers in Washington are also causing more deadly accidents.
Data from the Washington Traffic Safety Commision (WTSC) shows that in 2012, officials registered 251 DUI accident-related deaths, about 57% of all deadly traffic accidents reported that year. Nine years later in 2021, officials registered 412 fatal DUI collisions, or about 61% of all deadly traffic accidents throughout that year.
In order to help lower the rate of accidents, officials are going to schools to educate the community about the potential dangers associated with impaired driving.
In Washington State, nobody is allowed to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater. If you’re a driver in Seattle, avoid DUI accidents by following the law.
For more on what WSP officials are saying about the increase in the rate of DUI accidents, click here.