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Increased police enforcement in Washington over holiday weekend

Throughout the United States each year, the last Monday of May is observed as Memorial Day. In addition to honoring the lives of those who died while serving their country, the federal holiday is also considered the unofficial start of summer. Accordingly, it is not uncommon for people to gather with friends and family to enjoy the extra day off. Whether getting to these parties and gatherings entails driving long or short distances, over the long holiday weekend the number of people on the road throughout the nation—including those in the Seattle area—generally increases significantly.

As is the case with many parties, alcohol is often a component. This can lead to an increase in the number of drivers who take to the road while impaired. In addition, more drivers on the road could translate into more people speeding and engaging in other reckless behaviors behind the wheel. Last year over Memorial Day weekend, two individuals lost their lives on highways in the state of Washington. In anticipation of this occurring, police increases enforcement. This year that enforcement includes support from the air.

Using the department’s new airplane, Washington State Patrol can monitor drivers from above, watching for speeders and drunk drivers. Pilots in the airplane can identify these drivers from above and then communicate with units on the ground letting them know where to go to intercept them. The goal is to prevent any deaths on Washington roads this year during the holiday weekend.

Whether the approach will be used during other holiday weekends that commonly bring family and friends together, remains to be seen. Most would likely agree that anything that results in fewer traffic accidents is a good thing.

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