Drunken drivers in Washington state put on notice

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 7/25/2013

A new law in Washington state is intended to increase the deterrent to driving under the influence.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a bill that requires police to arrest drivers suspected of driving under the influence if they already have an impaired driving offense on their record. Existing state law doesn’t require that offenders be put behind bars.

SB5912 also changes ignition interlock device requirements. The devices, which detect any traces of alcohol in a person’s system, are required to be installed within five days of being charged. Offenders would also be responsible for picking up the tab for the devices.

The rule changes take effect on Sept. 28.

Also included in the new law is a pilot program to carry out daily alcohol monitoring of repeat offenders.

The program can be set up in as many as three counties or two cities not in those counties. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2014.

The legislative action follows two fatal incidents in the Seattle area where suspected drunken drivers killed two people crossing a street and another in a head-on crash.

Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, said his bill is the first step toward making roads throughout the state safer from drunken drivers.

“I truly believe there is much more we can do to protect the innocent, and I have already filed legislation that will help us accomplish that goal,” Klippert said in a news release.

His bills would include a requirement that all DUI offenders be arrested, booked and put on a six-hour hold and would make it a felony on the fourth DUI conviction – instead of the fifth conviction, under current law.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Washington, click here.

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