The Fourth of July holiday is a time of celebration. It is when people come together for family fun. But Independence Day isn’t only associated with barbeques, pool parties, fireworks, and large gatherings. It is also often linked to an increase in the number of drunken driving arrests.
In Washington State, officials with the Washington State Patrol (WSP) registered 18 DUI arrests during the Fourth of July weekend alone in Eastern Washington. Of those arrested, seven were from Kennewick, seven from Yakima, three from Walla Walla, and one from Grandview.
During their efforts to ensure Washington communities were safe, officials partnered with the California Highway Patrol and the Oregon State Police to keep a close eye on highways. Their focus throughout the weekend was on impaired driving.
Additionally, the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office worked on targeting the waters during the long weekend, hoping to prevent deadly boating accidents caused by intoxicated boaters.
Up until Monday, Walla Walla officials contacted 153 boaters to ensure they were sober. Thankfully, none of them were impaired.
WA Officials Saw A 27% Increase In Aggressive Driving Last Year
Despite the pandemic, officials did not get any rest in 2020.
With law enforcement telling reporters that the drop in traffic caused by the stay-at-home orders did not necessarily make roads safer, officials were also expecting an influx of drunk driving during the holiday weekend.
Between May 2019 and May 2020, Washington officials saw a 27% increase in cases of aggressive driving, which is often described as the act of committing moving traffic offenses so as to endanger others.
With that in mind, Washington drivers must all ask themselves if they are doing enough to help keep roads safe.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) urges drivers to avoid aggressive driving by following some important steps such as never “cutting off” other drivers, avoid blocking passing lanes, and never tailgate.
If you ever see an aggressive driver, avoid eye contact and stay calm. If he or she escalates the dispute, seek help by driving to the nearest police station or asking a passenger to call 911.