Regional DUI patrols begin this weekend

Law enforcement will be highly visible beginning this weekend as they launch a nearly two-week statewide campaign to remove impaired drivers from the road. City, county and state police in King and Pierce counties will be targeting roads where motorists are most at risk for being hit by a drug- or alcohol-impaired driver.

To kick off the special patrol, a dedication on Sat., June 23, will be held for Bruce Cromoga, who was killed by an impaired driver who had been drinking at a bar and also had used marijuana before the deadly crash. Cromoga was struck on Veteran’s Day, 2010, while driving home from a fishing trip with a 14-year-old family friend who was injured in the collision.

More than 25 law enforcement agencies will participate in the stepped-up enforcement, including both counties’ dedicated Target Zero DUI teams and two dozen drug recognition experts who test drivers to determine if they are impaired by either illegal or prescription drugs.

Within the last two years, DUI fatalities and serious injuries in King and Pierce counties have been reduced by more than 40 percent through the deployment of Target Zero’s dedicated, full-time officer teams.

“In spite of all the good news, we’ll never get to our goal of zero traffic deaths and injuries by 2030 unless everyone steps up their game,” said John Cheesman, chief of the Fircrest Police Department and chairman of the Tacoma Pierce County DUI and Traffic Safety Task Force.

Officer teams, including the Washington State Liquor Control Board and the parents of a young woman killed by a drunk driver, will be visiting bars as part of the Home Safe Bar program. Officers will give bar patrons cards that can be scanned by a smart phone to call a taxi. Additionally, taxi chips for members of the military to use to get home will be given to bouncers, bartenders and servers.