Legislature approves stricter rules for DUI offenders

OLYMPIA — Repeat violators of Washington’s impaired driving law will face stricter penalties and scrutiny under a bill approved Thursday by the Legislature.

The state House voted unanimously to finalize the measure, sending it to the governor’s desk. Among a range of new rules, the plan requires drivers charged with a second impaired driving offense to have an interlock device installed on their vehicles within five days of being charged, and the state would also begin a pilot program that would conduct daily alcohol monitoring on a person convicted twice under the DUI law.

“This bill is tough, with targeted criminal sanctions to hold drunk drivers accountable,” said Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland.

Legislators pressed ahead with changes to the DUI law this year after fatal accidents in the state angered the public and political leaders. In a March accident in Seattle, a suspected drunken driver crashed into a family crossing the street in a residential Seattle neighborhood. That accident critically injured a 10-day-old child and his mother and killed his grandparents.

As part of a final compromise, the measure is scaled back from an original proposal that would have increased mandatory minimum jail time for repeat DUI offenders. Adding that jail time would have been costly. Another idea initially proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee would have prohibited people from purchasing alcohol for 10 years after a third conviction on drunken driving.

Gov. Jay Inslee said the bill didn’t do everything the state needs to do.

“I look forward to continuing our efforts to crack down on those who choose to endanger the lives and livelihoods of others by choosing to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” Inslee said.

Rep. Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick, agreed with that sentiment. He said he hopes lawmakers will return next year to strengthen DUI laws even more.

“This bill doesn’t go as far as we hoped it would go,” Klippert said. “It doesn’t do everything we hoped it would do, but it takes a great step forward.”

More in Local News

Turkey talk: Kindergartners explain the Thanksgiving holiday

Our annual pilgrimage led us this year to Pathfinder Kindergarten Center in Everett.

Police locate suspect in Snohomish River after he fled

They used a thermal-imaging camera to locate the man in the water near Dagmars Marina.

Electrical fire on roof of Marysville school extinguished

There was no apparent structural damage to Cascade Elementary School.

As police closed in, 2 heavily armed pot-shop robbers fled

Cops surrounded the place in Mountlake Terrace. The suspects were tracked by dogs and apprehended nearby.

Hiker rescued on Boulder River trail after 15-foot fall

She was reported to have possible leg and rib fractures.

Alleged philanderer attacked with hammer near Everett

His girlfriend had accused him of cheating and allegedly called on another man to confront him.

Snohomish County Council passes a no-new-taxes budget

The spending plan still funds the hiring of five new sheriff’s deputies and a code enforcement officer.

In Sultan, there was a seat at the table for everyone

Every year, the town’s community dinner ensures no one has to dine alone on Thanksgiving.

Most Read