Being a Seattle car accident attorney and Washington wrongful death lawyer I understand how deeply drunk driving affects our community. Drunk driving is the leading cause of fatal auto accidents across the nation and in Washington State it contributes to 48% of fatal car crashes. A new Bill has been proposed to help lower the number of DUI deaths we see every year in Washington State. A hearing was held by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday for House Bill 1789 which would increase Washington State DUI Laws.
With this proposed Bill there would be increased penalties for first time DUI offenders including increased jail time and expanding the requirements for ignition interlocking devices. The hope is these stiffer penalties would reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders and decrease the hefty death toll. The Bill proposes increasing the current 1-2 day jail sentence for first offenders to a 3-4 day sentence. It would also require more people convicted with a DUI to have an ignition interlock device installed on their car, which requires the driver of the vehicle to blow into a breathalyzer to start their vehicle.
In the Bills defense stand the families affected by fatal drunk driving accidents. Frank Blair from Tacoma is one of the Bill’s biggest supporters after his daughter was killed by a drunk driver when she was only 24-years-old.
Amazingly, there are opponents to the Bill who are concerned with the expense of increasing the jail time for first time offenders, claiming it costs the state $76.00 a day to keep someone in county jail and the drunk drivers would take up too much jail space which is already scarce.
Friday is the deadline for the committee to vote on whether or not to let the Bill pass through. If the Bill passes the committee it will go on to the Senate and then to the governor for approval.