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Community Initiatives: Target Zero

Between 2008 and 2010, there were 970 traffic fatalities and 5,020 serious injury collisions in Washington State.  Of the 970 fatal collisions, half involved drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol.  In response, Washington developed a Strategic Highway Safety Plan entitled Target Zero.  The goal of Target Zero is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and serious injury collisions to zero by the year 2030.  Target Zero is a statewide collaborative effort that unites various agencies and organizations to direct funding, resources, and innovative solutions toward achieving this common goal.


Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over
           
Impaired driving is a leading factor in Washington traffic deaths. We’re working with other agencies to keep alcohol- and drug-impaired drivers off the roads. Washington wants to increase impaired driving arrests, improve prosecution, set up more DUI courts, and promote the use of ignition-interlock devices.


Examples of these innovative solutions can be seen on Tacoma’s 6th Avenue where teams conduct "Choose Your Ride" and "Home Safe Bar” campaigns.  During these nights, groups consisting of law enforcement, the Liquor Control Board, and family members who have lost a loved one to a drunk driver, will visit bars to raise awareness about over-service and drinking and driving.  They also provide customers with contact information for taxi services and tow trucks, which are sometimes provided for free or at a great discount.  Patrol units are standing by in case there are individuals that don't heed the warnings and decide to drive drunk.  The goal is to get people home safely.

In 2012, the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney's Office became a partner in the Target Zero project.  In addition to the existing efforts to prosecute Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases, there are now two full-time deputy prosecutors dedicated exclusively to the prosecution of impaired drivers in Pierce County. Deputy prosecutors have also been active in the community in an effort to reduce the number of DUIs in Pierce County.  They are attending Target Zero workgroups at county and regional levels, participating in the DUI Summit, and collaborating with area law enforcement agencies regarding best practices for securing successful prosecution of impaired drivers.

The Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is actively pursuing Target Zero.  So far, the overall results in Pierce County are outstanding.
Graph of Fatal Accidents
Fatalities:  Comparing 2008-2010 (pre-Target Zero), to 2010-2012 (Target Zero), the number of impaired driving fatalities in Pierce County has decreased by 41.7%.

Serious Injuries:  For the same time period, the number of serious injury collisions caused by impaired drivers in Pierce County has dropped 10.2%.

Screening Time:  Since joining the Target Zero team, Pierce County deputy prosecutors are able to screen DUI cases for charging an average of 4.2 days after receiving and opening the referrals from law enforcement.  That is 11 days quicker than before the Target Zero project.

As these improvements demonstrate, the collaborative efforts of the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and other Target Zero partners are greatly improving the safety of Pierce County roadways. Impaired drivers are killing or seriously injuring fewer people; more loved ones are arriving at their destinations safely. The Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is committed to making Pierce County even safer, striving for Target Zero.