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Sheriff, State Patrol to crack down on drunk drivers

The Island County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington State Patrol will be on the lookout for drunk drivers during the annual "Drive Hammered, Get Nailed" campaign that starts this week.

The emphasis patrols will be conducted from Aug. 19 through Sept. 5.

Officials with the campaign said the goal is to save lives. Five people died in Island County in DUI crashes in 2010.

Last year in Island County, during the same time period as this year's campaign, officers on routine and extra patrols arrested 28 people for DUI.

For all of 2010, 433 people were charged with DUI in the county.

Drivers busted for impaired driving this year, however, will have something more to lose.

A new law called “Hailey’s Law” went into effect on July 22. Now all DUI arrestees’ cars will be towed and impounded for at least 12 hours, and only a registered or legal owner who was not in the car at the time of arrest will be allowed to retrieve the vehicle from impound before the mandatory 12-hour limit.

“This new law helps eliminate the danger of drunk drivers getting back into their cars and putting everyone at risk,” said Lowell Porter, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

“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,” he said.

The local patrols are part of a much bigger effort; nearly 10,000 other agencies nationwide will participate in the "Drive Hammered, Get Nailed" campaign.

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