Local law enforcement partners with Lyft for holiday season

This holiday season, bars in Tri-Cities will be going the extra mile to make sure their customers get home safely, thanks to a state grant and rideshare company Lyft.

Officers from Tri-Cities’ Target Zero Task Force are partnering with Lyft in a program made possible by a grant that was awarded to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

On Wednesday, representatives from the nine local agencies in the regional task force gathered at the Kennewick police station to announce the campaign. The officers will join law enforcement around the state that will be distributing 1,000 Lyft discount coupons to local bars.

Nearly half of all traffic deaths in Washington involve an impaired driver, and DUI numbers often go up during the holidays.

“A lot of these fatality collisions that are alcohol or drug-impaired are completely preventable,” said Sgt. Matt Newton with KPD.

Drivers impaired from more than one substance, called poly-drug drivers, are now the most common type of impaired driver involved in fatal crashes. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the number of poly-drug drivers has increased an average of 15 percent every year since 2012.

“Mixing drugs is very different than what people sometimes think,” said Jennifer Dorsett, manager of Target Zero in Benton and Franklin counties. “It’s not one plus one equals two; it’s like one plus one equals six.”

The Lyft ride discount code offer comes as law enforcement in Benton and Franklin Counties launch DUI emphasis patrols beginning Wednesday. They join more than 145 law enforcement agencies statewide adding patrols through January 1.

The discount is limited to the first 1,000 people who add the code to their Lyft app. Claimed codes are valid for use until February 3, 2020.