As a Seattle personal injury attorney, I often bear witness to the aftermath of drunk driving. Among the wreckage of broken bones and broken families can also be a shattered faith in law enforcement. Four years ago, Hailey Huntley was severely injured by a drunk driver who had gotten behind the wheel twice that night. The driver, Janine Parker, had been dropped off at her home by the police after spending time in jail, only to take a cab back to her car so that she could try driving one more time; unfortunately the police were not there to stop her from crashing in Huntley.
Since then, Huntley has pushed for a law that would impound drunk drivers’ cars for at least 12 hours after their arrest. On Thursday, July 21st, the Washington State Legislature passed Senate Bill 5000, or “Hailey’s Law,” and the law went
into effect on Friday. This aims to ensure that drivers suspected of being under the influence are sober before they get back behind the wheel. According to Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste, family or friends of the suspected drunk driver are no longer allowed to pick up the vehicle at the roadside, although if there is another registered owner of the vehicle, he or she may retrieve it. Other alternatives must be considered before impoundment or else the driver must consent.
The cost to drivers for impoundment is high, around $200. According to Huntley, however, “it’s a whole lot cheaper than what I went through. A car in the hands of a drunk driver is a weapon and it’s a weapon they don’t have the right to use.” Here at Premier Law Group, or thanks go out to Hailey, whose story and activism have made the roads safer for all of us.
To read “Hailey’s Law”, click here.
For information on how to spot a drunk driver, click here.