Law enforcement officials want everyone to start the new year off right by getting home safely
Law enforcement will be out in force in Clark County on New Year’s Eve.
Police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and state patrol will hope to have a quiet evening, but they will be prepared to do what is necessary to keep the roads safe.
“Several agencies throughout the county are looking for and removing DUI drivers from the roadway,” said Bethany Lau, a detective with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.
DUI emphasis patrols, with coordination from Target Zero, will be set up throughout the region.
Lau has been part of these patrols on busy holidays more than a dozen times. One New Year’s Eve, she said, she arrested a driver for DUI, and as soon as he was processed and she went back out on patrol, she nabbed another impaired driver.
There was one recent holiday, she noted, when she didn’t make any arrests.
“I’ve had a slow holiday. It was quite wonderful,” Lau said. “It worked. It meant we got the message out enough.”
That is always the hope.
The message: If you are planning on celebrating New Year’s Eve with alcohol, have a plan before driving. Go with a designated driver. Take mass transit. Call a cab. Set up a ride share.
“That’s really what it is,” Lau said. “It really is just making sure you have a plan. What is your end goal for the night? Do you know your options?”
With so many options out there, there is no justification for driving while impaired. Lau also noted that while alcohol is a major factor in DUI arrests, prescription medication can be a problem, too. More people are taking antidepressants or anxiety medication during the holidays and do not always understand the consequences of those medications while operating a vehicle.
Again, no excuses, not with so much on the line, Lau said.
“We want people to start 2023 the right way. Not injured. Not having died in a collision. Or being responsible for someone else’s injury or death,” Lau said. “We are really out there trying to keep people safe. That’s all we want.”
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office responded to a record number of fatalities due to vehicle crashes in 2022. Lau said many of them were due to drivers under the influence.
C-TRAN has partnered with the Port of Vancouver, People’s Community Credit Union, and ilani to offer free service on all routes starting at 6 p.m. Saturday through the end of the service day. In addition, a few routes will provide extended services into early morning hours. Some bus routes will be going well beyond 2 a.m. Sunday. (For schedules and more details, go to: https://www.c-tran.com/newyears
Target Zero is a plan with a goal to reduce the number of traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington to zero by 2030. The campaign works with law enforcement agencies throughout the state in hopes of getting the message out to drivers to be safe on the roads.
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