Annual campaign underway to prevent impaired driving

As you prepare for festivities with family and friends, the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office wants to remind all drivers that it's dangerous to drive after drinking or drugging. You should choose your role ahead of time: will you drink and drug or will your drive? Remember, even if you only have a little bit to drink or smoke a small amount of marijuana, and think you're "okay to drive," you could still be over the legal limit.

It's illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, or a THC blood content of 5 nanograms per milliliter or higher. And for most people, it doesn't take much to reach that level. You don't have to be falling-down drunk or high as a kite to be too impaired to drive.
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The state-wide Target Zero campaign aims to spread awareness about driving under the influence and eliminate DUI deaths by 2030. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a terrible killer on our roads, and this time of year is especially dangerous due to holiday celebrations and frequent parties. Approximately 50 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in Pierce County involve an impaired driver.

"Since 2009, increased DUI emphasis patrols in Pierce County have reduced fatal DUI crashes by 35 percent," said Misdemeanor Division Chief Tim Lewis. "In essence, 45 lives were saved, and those people are able to spend another holiday season with their families and friends."

Keep these tips in mind to avoid a DUI and keep our roads safe:
• Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time, and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk or having a crash.
• If you will be drinking or smoking marijuana, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead; designate a sober driver before the party begins.
• When you know you'll be drinking or drugging, leave your keys at home or give them to someone else.
• If you have been drinking or drugging, do not drive -- even a short distance. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

Remember, it is never okay to drive after drinking or drugging.