Washington State Lawmakers Target Drunk Drivers


Washington Governor Jay Inslee and a bipartisan group of lawmakers recently announced a plan to change state laws on drunk driving. The announcement comes in the wake of two recent tragedies involving drivers suspected of being under the influence.

A Seattle woman was fatally injured on Highway 520 in a head-on crash involving a driver going the wrong way. Another Washington State accident got national attention when a driver with a record of DUI arrests struck a family crossing a street in Seattle, critically injuring a young mother and her 10-day-old child and killing the child’s grandparents. .

The plan introduced in both the House and the Senate includes:

  • A requirement that a suspect be arrested on the first offense.
  • Mandatory jail time if an offender does not enroll in a sobriety program after a second offense.
  • A prohibition on purchasing alcohol for 10 years after a third offense.
  • Installment of an ignition interlock device on vehicles of a person who is charged with an alcohol- related driving offense unless a court makes an exception. This differs from current protocol that orders the installation only after an offender is convicted.
  • Mandatory jail time for a second and third offense; however, jail time can be avoided on the second offense if the offender enrolls in a substance abuse program that includes regular breathalyzer testing. A third offense will carry a mandatory 364 days in jail.

Gov. Inslee referred to the plan as the “most aggressive, the most effective, the most ambitious program to reduce drunk driving on our roads.” He went on to say “If an offender cannot or will not modify their substance abuse, we will stop them from driving an automobile on the streets of the state of Washington.”

Figures released by the Washington State Patrol show that there were 454 traffic fatalities in 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Of those fatalities, 199 – almost half– involved a driver who was impaired as a result of drugs or alcohol.

Both the House and Senate versions of the legislation can be viewed on the Washington State Legislature website.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a Yakima Valley drunk driving car crash, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries or your loss. The Yakima Valley car accident attorneys at Mariano Morales Law can help you get through the legal process and make sure that the party responsible for your injuries or loss is held accountable.

Contact the team today by calling (509) 853-2222 or by using our online contact form for your free initial consultation.