Monday, February 13, 2012

House Democrats hammer down on drunk driving

This year, 10,839 people will die in drunk-driving crashes in the U.S. – one death every 50 minutes, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

In our state there were 170 reported DUI fatalities in 2009 which, according to MADD, cost Washington state residents a whopping $935 million!

Rep. Roger Goodman decided enough is enough and introduced a package of DUI-related bills beefing up the consequences for drunk drivers. The bills were passed out of the House today.
  • HB 2443 strengthens Washington’s nation-leading ignition-interlock program by adding cameras to the devices—at no cost to the state—to prevent offenders from gaming the system.
  • HB 2302 increases financial penalties for  drunk driving offenses when a child under age 16 is in the car—and triples the amount of time an ignition interlock device must be on the offender’s vehicles, from 60 days to six months.
  • HB 2176 prevents drunk drivers who kill or harm from using the statute of limitations to duck court-ordered payments to victims.
  • HB 2405 allows courts to order drunk drivers who kill a parent to pay child support for the victim’s minor children.
First-time DUI offenders will also pay far more for their crimes if the reforms passed by the House today become law.  The House voted 85-11 for HB 1556, authored by Rep. Steve Kirby, which  triples the mandatory minimum sentence for a first-time DUI offense from one day to three days in jail. The bill also requires the offender to pay for the cost of incarceration.

“A day in jail simply isn’t enough,” said Kirby. “A slap on the hand doesn’t get anybody’s attention anymore.  We need to send a message that we’re serious about cracking down on people who drive drunk.”

To read this story in Spanish, click here.