Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Getting tough on drunk drivers

Washingtonians are three times more likely to be injured or killed on the roads than at the hands of criminals. Drunk drivers are a major cause of the tragedies in our neighborhoods and on our highways.

This afternoon, Governor Jay Inslee introduced his plan to combat chronic drunk driving at a press conference with Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

House Bill 2030, introduced by Rep. Dawn Morrell (D-Puyallup), streamlines complicated DUI laws in our state. After someone is arrested for DUI, law enforcement impounds the vehicle. An ignition interlock device would be installed before returning the car back to the driver. This is a common sense change that will help prevent tragedies.

It also creates a new driver’s license for the most persistent offenders that will prevent them from purchasing alcohol for ten years.

The legislation also dedicates funds to support highly-effective DUI emphasis patrols. Counties often lack the resources they need to prosecute repeat offenders. These changes will give them the funds they need to get the job done.

 “As a critical care nurse, I’ve had to ask the family of a 12-year-old if they wanted their child to be an organ donor,” said Rep. Morrell. “Once you’ve done that, you are resolved to prevent more carnage on our roads and more funerals for little boys and girls who’ll never go to prom, never get their diploma, and never bring their own sons and daughters home for Christmas to their grandparents. This bill will save lives.”

The leaders were joined by Frank and Carol Blair of Puyallup. Three years ago, their daughter Sheena was killed by a drunk driver. Carol and Frank have dedicated their lives to preventing another family from experiencing the same heartbreak.

“Victims of drunk drivers don’t get a second chance at life, so it’s time we stop giving the drunk drivers a second chance,” said Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland), chair of the House Public Safety Committee. “Governor Inslee has proposed strong new measures and although we only have a short time before the session ends I know we have the political will to pass these important reforms into law.”

The bill is scheduled for a public hearing the House Public Safety Committee on Thursday afternoon.

Read this story in Spanish.