Sammamish

Local city facing alarming trend of underage drinking and driving

Local city facing alarming trend of underage drinking and driving
SAMMAMISH, Wash. -- A disturbing trend in Sammamish is forcing police to take a hard-line stance against underage drinking and driving.

The goal isn't simply to keep kids safe, but to battle against three years of frightening statistics.

Those statistics show that 40 percent of all DUIs in the city come from drivers under the age of 21.

Dad Alan Saturay sees the headlines about teen DUIs in Sammamish and knows something has to be done. To him it starts with fellow parents making it more difficult for their kids to get their hands on booze.

"I think there's also a good number of them who have easy access," Saturay said

In response, Chief of Police Nathan Elledge is putting together a task force of parents, city leaders and police to uncover the issues that play into these problems.

He said there's more at play than just cops on every corner.

"We don't just come out and add additional enforcement," Elledge said.

It's important for parents to play a role, but the kids actually tell the chief the focus should start earlier.

"They're saying that education at the high school level may be too late and it may be a better idea to have drug and alcohol education earlier on in life," Elledge said.

So far, the task force has had two meetings and will have another next week. They want to create a targeted, specific plan and hopefully other cities will follow suit.