Study shows one-third of Washington drivers in fatal accidents t - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Study shows one-third of Washington drivers in fatal accidents test drug-positive

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YAKIMA, BENTON, FRANKLIN, AND KLICKITAT COUNTIES, WA - From August 19 to September 5, extra patrols will run in participation of the "Drive sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign. 

Approximately one-third of drivers involved in fatal accidents in Washington are drug-positive, according to a new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Washington law enforcement officers will join the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign aimed at encouraging everyone to get a safe ride, especially if alcohol, prescription or over-the-counter medicine, or other drug use might be causing any impairment.

Extra patrols will run from August 19 to September 5, 2016. The Goldendale, Grandview, Sunnyside, Union Gap and Yakima Police Departments, the Yakima and Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol will be participating in the campaign through the coordination of the Yakima and Klickitat County Traffic Safety Task Force.

The NHTSA study mirrors the state’s deadly crash data. In 2015, there were 251 impaired drivers involved in deadly crashes. Of these drivers, 20 percent tested positive for alcohol greater than .08 only and another 20 percent tested positive for a single drug. However, nearly 60 percent of these drivers tested positive for multiple drugs, or drugs mixed with alcohol.

“When someone combines impairing substances, such as consuming marijuana and drinking alcohol, they may experience a greater level of impairment than they expected,” said Darrin Grondel, Washington Traffic Safety Commission Director. “This data shows that combining alcohol and drugs, or one drug with another drug can be a very deadly mix for drivers.

“The Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign is designed to encourage all of our citizens to help us achieve our goal of zero traffic deaths. Before you drive, make sure your mind is alert and ready for the important task of driving.” said Grondel. “Don’t risk getting arrested for a DUI, or causing a life-changing tragedy. Designate a sober, drug-free driver, catch a ride share, or walk with a buddy.”

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