New ideas aimed at toughening DUI laws raised

OLYMPIA – The Legislature’s Impaired Driving Group heard new suggestions Tuesday for trying to curb drunken driving, while state Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, said he hoped to move a bill toughening the DUI laws onto the House and Senate floors by Sunday.

“The victims don’t get a second chance at life, and so we seem to be giving the drunk drivers a second chance to kill,” Goodman said of the current situation.

At an Impaired Driving Group meeting Tuesday, members discussed suggestions of possibly allowing the seizure of a vehicle after a driver’s third DUI or prohibiting someone from even entering an establishment where the primary commodity is liquor.

Meanwhile, Goodman said he hopes to have the current bill aimed at toughening DUI laws – HB 2030 and SB 5912 – onto the floor by the Legislature’s adjournment date of Sunday, April 28.

The bills would increase jail time so a second conviction would require an offender to choose either six months behind bars, or treatment and wear an alcohol-detection bracelet that would alert the court if the driver consumes any alcohol.  A third conviction would require seven months in jail and the same alternative for treatment.

Also on a third DUI conviction, an offender would be issued a vertical driver’s license, which would prohibit the offender from buying alcohol at a bar or store.

Goodman also wanted ignition interlock devices to be installed while the driver’s car is in impound immediately after they are arrested, but the ACLU raised constitutional concerns.

“Then you’re really relying on law enforcement to make that determination out in the field; that’s a situation where you could sweep in a lot of people who are innocent,” the ACLU's Shankar Narayan said.

Some of the provisions are controversial but Goodman is committed to trying to keep impaired drivers off the road.

“I’ve heard a lot of cynical comments about people are going to get around this and find a way to get alcohol or drive someone else’s car.  Some people are going to do that, but we’re going to make it a lot harder,” said Goodman.