Officers from 17 Pierce County law enforcement agencies have intercepted nearly 1,200 unsafe drivers during the first three weeks of the countywide Home for Holidays traffic safety initiative.
Increased DUI patrols in most of the county’s towns and cities on Dec. 11 and three separate multi-agency DUI patrols in Lakewood, East Pierce County and the Fife and Milton area Nov. 28, Dec. 12 and 19, resulted in 66 impaired drivers being arrested. All are facing jail time and/or fees and fines totaling as much as $7,000.
“Going into debt and to jail as a result of a DUI is not a good way to start the new year,” says John Cheesman, chief of the Fircrest Police Department and chair of the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force. “But officers will be doing whatever it takes this holiday season to minimize deaths and disabling injuries on the road.”
Non-traditional patrol cars, aircraft, radar and laser units will be used to assist officers in removing as many unsafe drivers from the road as possible, including impaired drivers.
Tow companies, as well, have teamed up with the task force to keep life-threatening drivers off the road. Pierce County companies will be offering drivers a free tow and ride home through New Year’s Eve if a participating bartender or tavern owner determines that a driver had too much to drink. Over 200 bars and taverns in Pierce County are participating in this year’s program.
Bill Sullivan, Liberty Towing, who coordinates the annual Tow to Go program involving 14 Pierce County tow companies says, “We help the task force and bartenders every year to keep irresponsible drivers who have been drinking off the road because if we don’t, we’ll surely be called to a wreck where no one will be making it home for the holidays.”
Pierce County’s Home for the Holidays special campaign is in support of Target Zero, Washington’s traffic safety plan that aims to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries by the year 2030. Agencies participating in the season’s planned enforcement and towing activities include the Fife, Milton, Orting, Sumner, Edgewood, University Place, Lakewood, Tacoma, Steilacoom, Bonney Lake, Fife, Gig Harbor, Ruston, Fircrest and Puyallup Police Departments along with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Patrol. Participating towers include Engel’s, Puyallup, B Line, J & J, Gene’s, Emerald, Western, Tacoma, Lakewood, Bill’s, Burn’s, Bay View, Fife and Liberty Towing.