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King County police forces set to go 'bar hopping'

Police will be throwing a spotlight on the role bars play in keeping drunk drivers off the road this weekend.

Local, county and state law enforcement officers will team up to conduct a DUI emphasis throughout South King County on Saturday.

Within an hour of a DUI arrest, police officers, to include Washington State Liquor Control Board agents, will make educational visits to those bars associated with the arrest.

Launched in South King County in the spring of 2012, the Home Safe Bar program aims to raise awareness about how servers and bartenders can help reduce the number of impaired drivers on King County's roadways. The program helps to educate bar owners on how to avoid costly litigation related to death or injury caused by a patron served too much alcohol.

Washington State Liquor Control Board agents will visit establishments to educate employees and distribute "Click 2 Ride" cards which provide direct access to 1-800-TAXICAB. The Mobile Impaired Driving Unit will be set up at the city of Kent Corrections Facility and operated by Washington State Patrol to allow onsite processing of DUI drivers.

"As part of the statewide Target Zero Teams initiative, Auburn, Federal Way, Kent, Seatac, Burien, Renton, and WSP all participate in weekly DUI emphasis patrols. On March 9, we are adding the extra step of educating bar owners, managers and servers that they have a responsibility, too," said Kent Police Sgt. Robert Constant. "The message is to not over-serve customers and if there are patrons over the limit, help them get a safe ride home or have a sober ride pick them up."

The multi-agency bar program is funded by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and is part of an ongoing partnership between law enforcement, public health, and the community to reach the Washington State Target Zero goal of eliminating all fatal and serious injury crashes by 2030.

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