Breaking News
More () »

Super Bowl Sunday drunk driving has been increasing in recent years. How lawmakers are responding

There were 35 total DUI arrests across the state as of 5:00 p.m. on this Super Bowl Sunday, according to the Washington State Patrol.

SEATTLE — King County saw an uptick in DUI arrests on Super Bowl Sundays in recent years, with 12 in 2020, 15 in 2021, and 18 in 2022.

While Washington State Patrol said county-specific data is still being developed for this year's game day, the troopers also said they are taking additional efforts to keep roads safe by adding extra patrols.

"Across the state, we do take into consideration our staffing levels," said Trooper Will Finn of Washington State Patrol. "We also have extra troopers out on the road... it is a big day where folks get together."

There were 35 total DUI arrests across the state of Washington, according to the state patrol, as of 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. 

"Unfortunately, we still do have folks that drink and drive," said Finn.

Lawmakers are working to crack down on this issue at the state level; Senate Bill 5002 could mean Washington's patrol officers could soon begin enforcing stricter laws regarding drunk driving.

That bill would lower the threshold for drunk driving in Washington from .08% to .05% Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). The bill passed to the Rules Committee on Friday for a second reading.

 "That 200-pound male could consume three drinks in an hour before they reach .05%, so it is a significant level. There is impairment there already," said Sen. Marko Liias, D-Everett.

Amendments were added at the end of the week, such as one that would, "delay the implementation of the bill by six months, giving Washingtonians a full year between the adoption of this law by legislature and its entry into force," according to Liias.

If this bill becomes law, Washington would be joining only one other state in the country that’s lowered the legal limit to .05%: Utah.  The state reported a 20% reduction in fatal crashes the year it went into force.

Still, some in the local hospitality and wine industries expressed their opposition to it.

Meanwhile, this Super Bowl Sunday, the state patrol brought out their big bus branded with the words "Impaired Driving Unit." The bus is deployed on risky days so that it can assist in processing suspected impaired drivers that are arrested. Troopers call it a "full-service police station on wheels."

"There are multiple units in there to process folks that have been suspected of driving under the influence," said Finn.

Before You Leave, Check This Out