Those who are arrested for drunken driving would face stiffer sentences and see more barriers preventing them from driving impaired again under a pair of identical bills introduced this week.
On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers at a news conference to discuss the proposals, which come on the heels of two recent DUI cases in Seattle that left three dead.
Inslee called the legislation the most aggressive program to reduce drunken driving in the history of the state.
“It is the right thing to do in the light of the terrible tragedies of the kind we have experienced recently in Washington state,” Inslee said.
- The bills call for the creation of a new statewide program to combat alcohol and substance abuse called the 24/7 sobriety program. It is modeled after a similar program in South Dakota and would be administered by the Office of the Attorney General.
- Repeat offenders would spend more time in jail and courts would be not be allowed to grant deferred sentences.
- The installation of ignition interlock devices would be required on vehicles impounded after a DUI arrest.
- Law enforcement would be required to arrest anyone suspected of DUI. The approach is modeled after current domestic violence laws.
- The new restrictions would prohibit people with three or more DUI offenses from purchasing or being served alcohol for ten years. Offenders would be required to use a specially designed driver’s licenses.
- Driving the wrong way to the normal flow of traffic may be considered as an aggravating circumstance for sentencing.
A hearing is scheduled for the two bills on Thursday morning at 8 a.m.