Every year the holidays bring a lot of joy for families but for some this time of year is a reminder of those who are missing from celebration. According to the Washington State Traffic Safety Commission as of the end of October 639 people in Washington died in traffic crashes. Those chairs will be empty on Christmas day.

Hundreds of officers will be looking for impaired drivers

If you plan on attending a company party this month remember officials from the commission say 120 law enforcement agencies are part of what's called High Visibility Enforcement (HVE) patrols which start on December 14. The patrols will continue through January 1 of 2023. They say officers will be focused on preventing further tragedy by removing impaired drivers from Washington roads.
“Traffic fatalities reached a 20-year high in 2021, and preliminary data through October shows that there have been 15% more deaths so far in 2022, compared to the first 10 months of 2021,” says Mark McKechnie from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC). “Every year, more than half of traffic fatalities involve impaired drivers.”

You can do something to prevent a tragedy

Commission officials say along with the extra patrols that start on December 14 there's things drivers can do to prevent a tragedy. Things like planning ahead for a "sober ride home if you will be out drinking alcohol or using cannabis. Friends and loved ones can help to prevent DUIs by offering a sober ride, calling a rideshare, or offering a place to sleep."
Authorities encourage people to call 911 to report someone who is driving impaired.

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