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Cops cracking down on texting drivers, DUIs

ARLINGTON City, county and state law enforcement agents are making a point of keeping motorists safe well into the New Year.
Arlington Police Chief John Gray explained that sending text messages while driving is now a secondary traffic offense. While a secondary offense is not enough on its own to pull over a car, its an additional charge if a motorist is pulled over for a primary offense, such as speeding.
If we discover you violating this law, we will take action, Gray said. Inattentive driving causes far more accidents than speeding or following too close. Texting requires that you divert a great deal of dexterity and visual concentration away from driving itself. If youre going 50 miles an hour, thats 100 feet for every second youre glancing down at your text screen.
Moving on to other violations of the law, Gray took pride in the fact that no arrests were made in Arlington for driving under the influence, during New Years Eve, New Years Day and the weekend that preceded them.
Every DUI is a homicide waiting to happen, Gray said. Were stopping potential fatalities.
Neither the Arlington Police Department nor the Snohomish County Sheriffs Office have a specific DUI emphasis patrol on New Years Eve, but the sheriffs office did have extra deputies on patrol to handle the heavier call load.
Sheriffs office spokesperson Rebecca Hover reported that deputies made two DUI arrests and two DUI warrant arrests on New Years Eve.
Its important to note that deputies made more DUI stops than that, but they turned them over to the Washington State Patrol, who proceeded to handle them from there, Hover said. That freed up our deputies to respond to the many other 9-1-1 calls we received that night, such as loud parties where drinking was going on and fights were breaking out.
Washington State Patrol Trooper Kirk Rudeen noted that the state patrol added nine troopers to their patrols in Snohomish County, starting Christmas Eve, who made 10 DUI arrests on New Years Eve, three just before midnight. There were no fatalities.
Rudeen added that troopers made just under 400 DUI arrests in Snohomish County in December, and approximately 3,400 DUI arrests in the county in 2007.
Those are record numbers, Rudeen said. Thats up 22 percent from the year before. At the same time, fatalities are down 13 percent statewide, and down 28 percent in the Snohomish, Skagit, Island and Whatcom counties zone. We made 5,322 DUI arrests in that zone in 2007, which is about 1,000 more than we made in 2006.

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