Washington conducting impaired driving survey this weekend

Participation is anonymous and voluntary; volunteers receive up to $60

SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington state and the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission are teaming up to conduct surveys on impaired drivers through the weekend.

The survey is completely anonymous and voluntary and the goal is to gain perspective on what is in Washington driver's systems and find out what the state needs to educate the public on.

"When you're driving down the road do you ever wonder how many impaired drivers are around you? Well we do to," Karen Wigen, Spokane County Target Zero Task Force, said.

The anonymous, voluntary survey be conducted on the roadside across the state.

"This is the first time that we've ever done a driver impairment data collection study in Washington state," Wigen said.

The NHTSC paid the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation $250,000 to conduct the survey in six counties. Because of the legalization of marijuana the surveys will give a snapshot of motorists' drug and alcohol use before pot stores open in the coming months.

"PIRE is going to run the study on I think it will be 75 drugs, illegal, legal and over the counter," Wigen said.

PIRE will set up at random locations through Spokane County during the day and night and motorists who volunteer can make up to $60 for their participation. For $10 volunteers will be asked questions about their drinking, drugging and driving behavior and another $50 if they consent to give a saliva and blood sample.

"This way it will give us data of what is in the driver's system while they're driving," Wigen explained.

The state hopes the data collected will help in efforts to prevent impaired driving, which is the number one cause of fatal accidents in Washington.

"This is going to help us focus the education where we need to so we can save lives," Wigen said.

PIRE will be back in another seven or eight months after marijuana shops are open to compare data.