The use of sobriety checkpoints is prohibited in Washington state. As a result, the state has adopted other alternatives to stop drunk driving including highly visible saturation patrols.
These patrols consist of a team of troopers whose sole job is to stop drunk drivers. These teams are typically deployed on heavy drinking days like Friday and Saturday nights at high-risk areas and team members are specifically trained on spotting drunk drivers.
One particularly large saturation patrol organized in 2010 around King County, Pierce County, and Snohomish County was dubbed Target Zero Teams Project (TZTP). The team not only includes patrol officers, but also special prosecutors dedicated to the effort.
A recent study showed the effectiveness of TZTPstudy showed the effectiveness of TZTP in stopping drunk driving in the affected areas during the first year of the program:
- TZTP troopers made 3,402 DUI arrests, issued 3,371 speeding citations, and issued 933 seat belt citations.
- Alcohol- and drug-involved fatalities decreased by 34.4% in TZTP counties during the first 10 months of the project compared to the average for the same 10-month period over the previous five years in the same areas.
- Speeding-related fatalities also decreased by 43.7% in the TZTP counties using the same metric.
- Total traffic fatalities decreased by 28.2% in the TZTP counties using the same metric. The rest of the State experienced a more modest decrease in fatalities of 13.4%.
In sum, during the first year of the TZTP program, King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties experienced larger declines in alcohol- and drug-involved fatalities and in speeding-related fatalities than the rest of the State. This may be due to more arrests, but also may be due to the publicity surrounding the project which may have deterred would-be drunk drivers.
With dedicated DUI patrols and special DUI prosecutors, individuals charged with a DUI will need the assistance of an experienced DUI attorney to defend their rights. If you have been arrested for a DUI in the Seattle or King County areas, you may want to consult with an experienced DUI attorney to learn possible defenses to your specific drunk driving charge.
The DUI attorneys at Wolff Criminal Defense are here to help you every step of the way. Contact us directly at 425-284-2000 for a free consultation. Don't fight your DUI charge alone.
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