Troopers increasing DUI patrols for New Year's, some public transit offering free rides

With the New Year approaching and with more places open for celebrations after COVID, troopers will be conducting extra emphasis patrols to crack down on drunk driving. 

"There's a lot of things that are happening that haven't happened in the past couple of years, and so there's going to be more people out and about. We just want to stress to make good choices," Trooper Rick Johnson said.

Deadly traffic crashes in Washington have soared to a level officials haven't seen in 20 years.

In 2021, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission reported 602 crashes resulting in 670 deaths and say those numbers will likely be higher at the end of 2022.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has also been tracking alcohol-related crashes:

  • In King County, there have been 1,064 crashes involving alcohol this year, 19 of which were deadly. In 2020, there were 15 reported deadly crashes involving alcohol.
  • In Pierce County, there were 449 crashes involving alcohol, with six people dying.
  • In Snohomish County, 14 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, compared to 11 in 2020.

"We've had some wrong-way drivers. If you're on the freeway, stay in the right lanes because they think the fast lane is the slow lane and they're trying to be careful, so it's just tough," Johnson said.

If you've made plans to ring in the new year out on the town, you don't have to drive-- most public transportation will be free, including King County Metro, Sound Transit and the Seattle Streetcar.