Fourth of July a particularly dangerous time on the roads

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PIERCE COUNTY -- We are right in the middle of the 100 deadliest days of summer, the most dangerous time of year for teen drivers, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. And with 4th of July upon us, one local mother and father are hoping to save a life by sharing their own painful story of loss.

It’s been eight years since two police officers woke up Frank and Carol Blair with news about their daughter, Sheena.

“It was at that moment that I realized the most precious person in my life is lying dead on a slab two hours from me,” says Frank.

A drunken driver, going the wrong way, smashed into Sheena’s car, killing her.

Frank and Carol keep her memory alive, by warning others of the dangers of driving under the influence.

Arlington Police Sgt. Peter Barrett hopes to do the same, and he catches drivers early in the classroom, at 911 Driving School in Marysville.

Barrett shows teens what it means to be impaired from marijuana or alcohol.

As we navigate our way from Memorial Day to Labor Day, a time known as the 100 Deadliest Days, and with 4th of July falling mid-week this year, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission is warning all drivers to be responsible. In 2017, there were 565 traffic deaths and, of those, nearly half involved an impaired driver.

“That’s the span of time when we have the most drivers on the roadways. We also have the seven deadliest days of the year within that roughly three-month span,” says Barrett.

The Blairs want to spare other parents from knowing this same pain. And so they’re challenging families to take the “no matter what” pledge.

“You have to make it absolutely OK for them to call you, no matter where, no matter what. And there will be no consequences. You’re not going get in trouble for calling us. As a matter of fact, we’re going to hug you for making the right choice,” says Frank.

The safety commission says one in four drivers in all fatal crashes tested positive for multiple impairing substances. They’re known as poly drugs. The most common being marijuana and alcohol.

They warn of a disturbing trend, where some people who use marijuana after drinking believe it counteracts the effects of alcohol. That is false. They say marijuana intensifies the impairment, especially the skills needed for driving -- like vision, memory and critical thinking. It also further slows reaction time.

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