Local law enforcement conducting DUI emphasis patrols during Labor Day weekend

KOOTENAI CO., Idaho — You can expect to see more police officers on streets and highways this Labor Day weekend. 

The goal? To get drunk drivers off the roads so people can get home safely to their families. 

Holiday weekends always lead to more drunk drivers. Washington State Patrol and Idaho State Police have one message for you: Find another way home, or don’t drink at all. Because one crash, is one too many. 

“Unfortunately, we always seem to be busy,” said Washington State Patrol Trooper Jeff Sevigney. 

This weekend, extra troopers with WSP and Idaho State Police will be out, making sure to get those dangerous drivers off the road. 

“We’re out there looking for those types of drivers any time, any day,” said Cpl. Troy Tulleners with Idaho State Police. “We get them in the middle of the day, we get them early morning, we get them in the evenings or at night.” 

Last year, Tulleners said all agencies in Kootenai County had more than 1,500 DUI arrests. 

This year, they’re expecting that number to be lower.

“Because of COVID, and the bars being closed down, so there were less people out drinking and bars and restaurants,” said Tulleners. “But that doesn’t mean they’re not out there, so we’re still finding drunk drivers, impaired drivers on drugs.” 

If you plan on going out and enjoying the Labor Day weekend, have a plan. 

Find someone to drive you. 

“It’s a lot cheaper to get an Uber and a taxi than it is to get a DUI,” said Tulleners. 

In Idaho, a DUI can cost you between $1,000 and $5,000. In Washington, a person can be fined between $350 and $5,000. Both states and fines are dependent on your blood alcohol level and how many previous DUI’s you’ve had. 

This is in addition to spending time in jail and possibly having your license suspended. 

But the biggest consequence is the life you can end by drunk driving. 

“No one in my profession wants to go knock on the door in the middle of the night and tell them their loved one isn’t coming home,” said Sevigney. 

In Washington, you can call 911 if you believe you saw an impaired driver on the road. WSP says to get a good description of the car, driver, and license plate number. For Idaho, you can dial *477.

READ: Idaho State Police conducting DUI emphasis patrols through Labor Day