WA Officials Puzzled Over 2020 COVID Jump in DUI Crashes and Deaths
Because DUI serious injuries and deaths are on a significant rise in Washington state, The Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) says emphasis patrols will be conducted statewide beginning August 20 through the Labor Day Weekend.
Officials Puzzled As to Why DUI's Jumped Despite Less COVID Travel
Doug Dahl, the Communications Lead for the Target Zero Program says despite COVID lockdowns and restrictions, DUI cases involving death rose 12.4 percent while those involving serious injury went up 32.4 percent.
The WTSC included this as part of their information release:
"Serious injuries from impaired driver involved crashes were up 8.6% through June of 2021 compared with the same time period in 2020. Intoxication from more than one substance (usually alcohol and cannabis) is found in most impaired drivers."
As for why this occurred, it's likely the same reason why suicide calls jumped significantly nationwide and in Benton and Franklin Counties. Yes, people were traveling less, but the stress and impact of COVID lockdowns, job losses, and other factors resulted in more people using substances before getting behind the wheel.
Substance abuse figures have risen since the beginning of COVID, as have mental health issues.
Prior to COVID, Washington state was seeing a steady drop year after year in its impaired driving statistics, only to watch them explode in 2020.
But regardless of the reasons, it's not safe to be behind the wheel when you are under the influence. So, emphasis patrols will be hot and heavy between August 20 and Labor Day Weekend.
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