Impaired Driving Overview
DUI emphasis patrols begin August 20 and run through September 6. The patrols take on special meaning this year as they are dedicated to the memory of Lynnwood Police Officer Mark Brinkman. Officer Brinkman was nationally known for his leadership in DUI enforcement, and influential throughout Washington as a long-time DRE instructor. Mark passed away in his home in April.
The patrols, and the need to remind people to act if they see someone about to drive impaired, are also extra meaningful this summer as we are experiencing an increase in the rate of deaths and serious injuries from impaired driver involved crashes. This increase comes even though overall vehicle miles traveled declined in 2020.
If ever there is a time to remind Washingtonians that most of us don’t drive impaired and most of us will step in to stop someone about to do so, it is now.
Please use the materials, including facts, key messages, and social media, to help get the word out, to save lives, and reverse the concerning trend of increasing crashes from driver impairment.
Impaired Driving: Key Messages & Facts
Deaths and Injuries from Impaired Driving is Increasing
- In 2020 there were fewer drivers on the road in Washington compared to 2019, but deaths and serious injuries from impaired driver-involved crashes increased.
- Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) in 2020 was down 15% compared with 2019, and at times as low as 60% less.
- At the same time, fatalities in impaired driver involved crashes increased 12.4% and serious injuries increased 32.4%
- Traffic fatalities and serious injuries continue to increase at alarming rates in 2021 as more Washingtonians return to the roads.
- Although fatality statistics are still being compiled, serious injuries incurred in crashes involving impaired drivers rose 8.6% through the June of this year compared with the same time period in 2020.
Impaired Driving Emphasis Patrols Dedicated to Lynwood Police Officer Mark Brinkman
- Law enforcement agencies across Washington will put extra patrols on the road for impaired drivers from August 20-September 6. This year the patrols are dedicated to the memory of nationally recognized Lynnwood Police Officer Mark Brinkman, a DRE instructor and leader in DUI enforcement. Officer Brinkman passed away in April.
- A graduate of the Seattle Police Academy in 1988, Officer Brinkman served for 35 years in law enforcement, including 25 years with the Lynnwood Police Department.
- In 2016 he was recognized as “Law Enforcement Liaison of the Year” by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
- His dedication and success in removing impaired drivers from the road earned him national recognition and he was featured in several national news media profiles.
- We can reverse the alarming trend in deaths and injuries from impaired driving if we all work together.
- Most Washingtonians – 78% – never drink before driving. That’s a choice that’s easy to live with.
- We can help protect our friends and families too, by preventing someone from driving while impaired. Most Washingtonians – 81% – say they will step in to prevent someone from impaired driving.
Sample Social Media Messages & Graphics
The following are sample graphics and related content that we encourage you to use on your organization’s social media. Feel free to adapt for use on your website or customized emails too. Please click on the link below each image to download for posting on Facebook and Twitter.
Using short videos is a popular way to reinforce messages important to instilling safe driving practices and behavior for our teen drivers. Feel free to embed in your social media posts, email messages, or on your website.
DUI Patrols Begin Amid Rise in Impaired Driving Fatalities
Patrols Dedicated to Memory of Nationally Known Leader in DUI Enforcement,
Lynnwood Police Officer Mark Brinkman
OLYMPIA – State, local and county law enforcement agencies will deploy emphasis patrols for impaired drivers running August 20 through Labor Day weekend across Washington. The patrols occur as impaired driving-related deaths and serious injuries have increased over the past year despite fewer people driving due to COVID restrictions.
“Everyone can do something to prevent impaired driving,” said Doug Dahl, Target Zero Manager Communications Lead for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. “If you drink or use cannabis or other drugs, choose from many available alternatives rather than drive. If you see a friend or family member about to drive impaired, intervene. You can be the difference that prevents a crash and saves a life.”
In 2020, impaired driving involved fatalities increased 12.4% and serious injuries increased 32.4% over 2019, even though vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) was 15% lower. 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.
“The good news is that most Washingtonians don’t drink and drive, and most will step in to stop someone from driving after drinking or using drugs,” said Dahl. “The extra patrols are a reminder to always drive sober.”
Law enforcement is dedicating this August’s DUI patrols to a Washingtonian who saved many lives, Lynnwood Police Officer Mark Brinkman. Officer Brinkman was a nationally known leader in DUI enforcement. He passed away in April.
“Officer Brinkman dedicated himself to saving lives by getting impaired drivers off the road,” said Dahl. As a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) and DRE instructor, Brinkman trained officers across Washington in recognizing impairment in drivers from substances in addition to alcohol. He was highly regarded, both for the high number of DUI arrests he made each year and for genuinely caring about people.
“Officer Brinkman set the example of preventing impaired driving, through his performance as a police officer and with the compassion he showed as a human being,” said Dahl. “Law enforcement across the state honors his legacy, and each of us can echo his commitment to saving lives. These crashes are preventable and finding a sober way home is easy. It’s as simple as offering a ride, offering your couch for the night, or calling a rideshare or taxi.”
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) is our state’s designated highway safety office. We share a vision with numerous other state and local public agencies. That vision is to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries to zero by 2030. The WTSC Director is the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative, which is a designated position each state is required to have in order to qualify for federal traffic safety funding. Our Commission is made up of 25 employees and ten Commissioners chaired by Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee.