During the last five holiday seasons, from 2008 to 2012, an average of 49 people died in traffic crashes in Washington between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC).

With driving under the influence (DUI) the leading cause of traffic death, law enforcement officials said extra officers will be looking for drivers under the influence on Washington roadways through January 1, 2014.

State officials offered the following safety tips:

• Call 911 if you see a suspected DUI driver on the roads.

• If you drink, use marijuana, or take other drugs, don’t drive. Make plans before-hand for how you’ll get around.

• If you are hosting a party, make sure your guests get home safely! Plan to have sober designated drivers available. Buy a few extra air mattresses so guests can stay the night. If it’s an office party, limit alcohol, provide shuttle service or book hotel rooms. Remember, as a party host, you are liable for the actions of the people who leave your party intoxicated.

Talk with your children about alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. Help them understand the ways alcohol and marijuana use can harm their bodies, their brains, and their future. Let them know that they can call you instead of ever getting into a car with a driver who has been drinking, using marijuana or taking drugs.

• Give the best gift of all at the Holiday Season with the Designated Driver Gift Card found at http://wadrivetozero.com/gift-cards/.

• Addiction is a complex issue. If you or someone you know is dealing with alcohol, marijuana, or drug abuse, call the Washington Recovery Help Line at 1 (866) 789-1511.

For more tips, visit www.WAdrivetozero.com

The Auburn, Bellevue, Black Diamond, Burien, Clyde Hill, Covington, Des Moines, Enumclaw, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Lake Forest Park, Maple Valley, Mercer Island, Newcastle, Normandy Park, North Bend, Pacific, Port of Seattle, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Seatac, Seattle, Snoqualmie, Tukwila and Woodinville Police Departments, the King County Sheriff’s Office, and the Washington State Patrol are working towards zero traffic deaths by participating in this Holiday Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

These and all extra patrols are part of Target Zero—a state-wide effort to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in Washington by 2030.

MADD has tips on how to spot a drunk driver and more, here.

Previous articleOne-third of Korean Americans are smokers, study says
Next articleColumn: Ending the APA diabetes trend starts at your plate