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Local DUI emphasis patrols start on Thanksgiving Day

Carol and Frank Blair of Tacoma have made it their mission to reduce the carnage caused by drunk drivers.

On Feb. 26, 2010, their daughter Sheena was killed when an SUV moved into her lane and hit her head-on. The driver of the SUV had a blood alcohol level of almost three times the legal limit.

In 2010, Sheena Blair was one of 188 people in Washington who died as a result of a crash involving a driver impaired by alcohol. Between 2006 and 2010, the five-year total was 1,191.

As a result local law enforcement will conduct extra DUI patrols in Yakima and Klickitat counties from Nov. 24 through Jan. 2, 2012.

While the Blair family grief is enormous, the couple is actively working to prevent drunk driving by leading many efforts to honor the spirit of their daughter and all other victims of drunken driving crashes. They urge everyone to do their part this holiday season to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.

"Don't let our story become your story" said Frank Blair. "Call a cab. Call a friend. Plan ahead. No matter who you are, someone loves you."

This is why officers from the Grandview, Moxee, Sunnyside, Union Gap and Yakima police departments, along with the Yakima and Klickitat County Sheriff's offices and the Washington State Patrol will commit extra patrol hours to make the roadways safer for everyone. These efforts are part of Washington's strategic highway safety plan to reduce traffic fatalities to zero by the year 2030.

Last year during the same time period, officers in Yakima and Klickitat counties on routine and extra patrols arrested 233 people for driving under the influence.

The Yakima County Target Zero Traffic Safety Task Force organizes and supports this enforcement effort and they urge the public to join the team to prevent drunk driving.

For additional information about the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, visit www.wtsc.wa.gov.

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