The Washington State Patrol (WSP) is seeing an increase in the arrest of drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs whose passengers are children under the age of 16 throughout District 8, which includes Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific and Wahkiakum counties.
District 8 has averaged 30 DUI arrests with minors annually between 2007 and 2017. The district is only two arrests away from that average so far this year. WSP troopers arrested 28 DUI drivers with minors in the vehicle from January to July 2018, 11 of which occurred within the month of July.
In addition to a DUI charge, those caught driving with a minor in the vehicle could face additional charges of reckless endangerment for each minor passenger in the vehicle. WSP also contacts Child Protective Services, no matter the relation between driver and minor passenger.
The WSP is asking for your help in finding DUI drivers. Those who observe vehicles exhibiting signs of a possible driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs are asked to call 9-1-1 so law enforcement can respond. Calls to 9-1-1 to report emergencies are exempt under the new cell phone driving laws.
Examples of driving behaviors that could be indicators the driver is possibly under the influence include:
- Lane travel
- Shoulder driving
- Erratic braking
- Erratic lane changes
- Stopping short or beyond stop lines
- No headlights activated after dark
- Excessive speed
- Impeding traffic / inconsistent speeds
Do not attempt to contact a driver you feel is under the influence. Call and report the vehicle to 9-1-1 and follow the prompts provided by dispatchers. When calling, provide dispatchers with the license plate, make, model and color of the vehicle, as well as your location and any descriptions of the driver.
In some situations, when deemed safe, dispatchers will ask for updates on the vehicle’s location and driving behavior. If the dispatcher deems the situation unsafe to have the caller continue following the vehicle, they will ask for that caller to stop. The WSP requests callers adhere to the suggestions provided by dispatchers.
Those who report a DUI driver may be asked to provide a written statement. Be sure to provide your name, phone number and email to dispatchers so investigating troopers can contact you.
In July, 2018, Washington State Patrol District 8 troopers investigated the following cases of DUI with minors in the vehicle: