We’re in the middle of the statewide extra holiday DUI patrol emphasis…and we want to stress the fact that driving under the influence doesn’t JUST include alcohol. There has been a large increase among drivers who are drug positive for two or more drugs, or alcohol and drugs. Nearly three times as many drivers involved in deadly crashes had multiple substances in their bodies as those with only alcohol or a single drug. Below are just a few examples (provided by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission) of the serious, and often fatal, consequences that result from driving under the influence.
- February 28, 2016 at 1:00 am. A 28-year-old man was driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana and cocaine. He entered I-5 near Tukwila driving the wrong way. As he traveled around a curve he crashed head-on into another vehicle traveling the correct direction around the same curve. The crash killed the impaired driver and seriously injured the other driver. Test results showed a blood alcohol level of 0.28 percent, 14 nanograms of THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana) and a low amount of cocaine. He was unbuckled at the time of the crash.
- May 2, 2015 at 9:45 pm. A 25-year-old man was driving under the combined influence of alcohol and marijuana with his wife and 3 year old daughter in the car. Just a few miles east of Granger, he swerved to avoid an object and over-corrected causing his car to roll. The crash injured his daughter and killed his wife. Test results showed 23 nanograms of THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana) as well as blood alcohol content of 0.03 percent. State law sets the legal limit for THC at 5 nanograms. The man was charged with vehicular homicide.
- June 2015, at 2:50 am. A man in his early 30s was driving under the combined influence of alcohol, marijuana and ecstasy. He entered the eastbound lanes of State Route 500 in Vancouver traveling in the wrong direction. Driving at approximately 90 mph, he hit another vehicle traveling the correct direction head-on. His car flipped and caught on fire, killing the driver and his passenger. The driver of the other vehicle was severely injured and found unconscious at the scene. Test results showed the wrong way driver was positive for THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana), and ecstasy and had a blood alcohol content of 0.16 percent.
- June 12, 2015 at 10:15 pm. A man in his late 50s was riding his motorcycle while under the combined influence of alcohol and marijuana. He failed to negotiate a 90 degree curve on a county road in Okanogan and struck an object causing his death. Test results showed the motorcyclists had 6.9 nanograms of THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana) and a blood alcohol content of 0.07 percent.
- January 25, 2015 at 1:30 am. A man who had just turned 24 was driving under the combined influence of alcohol, marijuana, amphetamine and methamphetamine. As he was speeding on a Spokane city street, he nearly killed two pedestrians when his car left the roadway, jumped the sidewalk, and came to rest after hitting a bridge. The young man died on impact. Test results showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.24 percent as well as being positive for marijuana, amphetamine and methamphetamine.
- November 19, 2015 at 2:30 pm. A 20-year-old woman was driving under the combined influence of alcohol and marijuana with her 2-year-old daughter in the back seat. She was speeding on State Route 7 just south of Tacoma when she failed to grant a pedestrian the right-of-way in a crosswalk. The young woman struck the pedestrian, a 59-year-old man who died twenty-one days later having succumbed to the injuries caused by the crash. Test results showed a blood alcohol content of 0.081 percent as well as 2.5 nanograms of THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana).