Since automobiles were first put on the market drunk driving has been a problem, in fact, the first DUI laws were put into place in 1910, before automobiles had even became mainstream. Since this time DUI laws have had frequent changes and amendments; steadily reducing the legal limit from .15 to .08 and making harsher penalties for offenders. As a Seattle fatal auto accident attorney working in a Bellevue personal injury law firm I have noticed that in spite of the constant changes DUI laws still seem inefficient as 40% of all fatal auto accidents are caused by drunk drivers, but the Washington State governments newest anti drunk driving legislation is attempting to amend this.
Washington’s government is now pushing a “No Refusal” policy for the state which would help prosecute drunk drivers. This new Washington DUI Law policy would allow police to get search warrants for blood samples of drunk drivers who refuse to take a Breathalyzer test. With 1 in 4 drunk drivers refusing the test and the breathalyzer being one of the only forms of concrete evidence of a drunk driver this new legislation could help catch and prosecute drunk drivers.
In spite of the DUI laws in recent years the United States is still significantly behind Europe in controlling the drunk driving problem. Although the U.S. has the oldest drinking age we have the highest number of fatal drunk driving accidents all because of our weak DUI laws. Through check points, mandatory breathalyzer tests and imprisonment for first time offenders Australia, Germany and Great Britain have all made significant strides in the fight against drunk driving.
With or without stricter legislation, the fight against drunk driving needs to happen on an individual basis- we all need to do our part to not drink and drive. Taking a taxi, bus or having a designated driver is essential when celebrating with alcohol. Also remember to contact police immediately if you see a driver that appears to be intoxicated – your phone call can save a life.