Planning on going out for dinner and a couple drinks but not sure where you want to go? The folks at the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) have just helped make that decision a little easier.
In an effort to dissuade people from drinking and driving, the WTSC has made public the locations for future DUI emphasis patrols in King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties with more counties to be unveiled later. While the commissions intentions are sound, one has to wonder if telling people where specifically they shouldn’t drink and drive will have the desired effect
The website, www.watikileaks.com, shows both a patrol list and a calendar view for where beefed up patrols supposedly will be. For example, per the site, on September 2, 2011, in South Seattle, “Target Zero Teams will be out throughout the SODO and South Seattle area.” And from September 9, 2011, at 8:00 p.m. and September 10, 2011, at 3:00 a.m., “Target Zero Teams will be out Friday nigh in Downtown Kirkland.” The warnings seem to go out about a month into the future
The purpose , as stated by Mark Medalen, a communications consultant for the commission, is to, “get people to…think twice before getting behind the wheel drunk.” But is that what the site really will accomplish?
Will people, planning an evening with friends in Kirkland, go to the site, see that there is an emphasis patrol in Kirkland and decided to be more careful. Or, will it be used to help people make decisions as to where they want to drink? Most people don’t go out with intent of driving drunk. But they do fear that they could get pulled over after having just a couple and then risk getting a DUI despite not being intoxicated. This is a site that will make people more cautious about where they drive, but it won’t make them less likely to drive after consuming alcohol.
This effort, and the website, won’t work as planned. At best, assuming people even go to it, their purpose will be to help them decide where they want to go.
Wouldn’t saying, “We are having a massive emphasis patrol in and around King County this weekend. You won’t know where we will be, but we will be there,” ultimately be a much more effective way of making people think twice about drinking an driving?
Uncertainty makes people cautious. Certainty makes them bold. With this website, potential drunk drivers are being given the opportunity of having a degree of certainty.