Anti-drunken driving patrols kick off Friday

Local law enforcers will be out in force for enhanced patrols through the day after Labor Day.

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WALLA WALLA -- Drinking and driving is always a serious issue, but local law officers are soon going to turn up the heat.

The annual Drive Hammered, Get Nailed campaign starts Friday with enhanced patrols for intoxicated drivers. The campaign will run through Sept. 5.

This year impaired drivers will not only face arrest, but will also find themselves without their wheels after being stopped.

A new measure called Hailey's Law requires the vehicles of those arrested for driving under the influence to be towed and impounded for at least 12 hours. Only a registered or legal owner who was not in the car at the time of arrest is allowed to get the car out of impound before the mandatory 12 hours.

"This new law helps eliminate the danger of drunk drivers getting back into their cars and putting everyone at risk," Lowell Porter, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission said in a release. "Now all drunk drivers face the costs of towing and impound in addition to jail time, losing their driver's license, and the high cost of a DUI."

The Clarkston, College Place and Walla Walla police departments, the Garfield County Sheriff's Office and the Washington State Patrol, will join nearly 10,000 other agencies nationwide in this year's Drive Hammered, Get Nailed campaign.

During last year's Drive Hammered, Get Nailed campaign, police arrested 26 people for DUI in the region that includes Walla Walla, Garfield and Asotin counties. During all of 2010, in Walla Walla, Garfield and Asotin Counties, 417 people were charged with driving under the influence.

A total of 230 people died in drunken-driving crashes last year in Washington.

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