While other states might have sobriety road blocks for DUI enforcement, Washington has DUI emphasis patrols. On Saint Patrick's Day this year (which fell on a Saturday similar to Cinco de Mayo), the DUI Emphasis Patrols made a total of 288 arrests of suspected drunk drivers. It is very likely there will be a similar number of DUI arrests Saturday night.
For King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties, 33 local law enforcement agencies, in addition to the Washington State Patrol and the Washington State Liquor Control Board, will be teaming together on the roads and highways looking for drunk drivers out celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Law enforcement will also be visiting bars to ensure responsible service. In addition to police, leaders of the Latino community, including the Mexican Consulate in Seattle, Consejo Counseling and SeaMar Community Health Centers are joining in the effort to deter impaired people from driving their vehicles and encouraging people to celebrate "...with enthusiasm and responsibility." Full Story
The website that informs drivers of where DUI emphasis patrols will be operating, watikileaks.com, states that the Washington State DUI emphasis will run from Friday through Sunday throughout Snohomish, Pierce and King Counties. The site advises drivers to "make your cinco de mayo celebration fun AND responsible by choosing a safe ride home before your party begins!"
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC), in conjunction with Target Zero, are the leaders of the Washington DUI emphasis patrols. The WTSC conducted a study for fatal accidents that involved impairment in Washington between 2004 and 2008. Full Report. The study found an average of 273 deaths each year caused by impairment. Over 36 % of the deaths occurred in King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties.
Cinco de Mayo is always a fun holiday to celebrate with family and friends. I would strongly recommend that drivers follow the advice from law enforcement in planning ahead and securing safe transportation before the party begins. Anticipate a strong presence of law enforcement in the neighborhoods throughout Seattle and the highways stretching from Everett to Tacoma and everywhere in between.