My friend Stacey Rhodes who is a tireless volunteer with Washington State Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been at our state capitol in Olympia fighting for tougher drunk driving laws in Washington State. She has been kind enough to write up a nice summary of some of the recent legislative victories.
HB2302 - Driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle.
Children have the right to have a sober driver. We are talking about our most vulnerable and precious cargo, children have no say or choice when forced in a vehicle with an impaired driver. HB2302-Now makes adults driving with a child under the age of 16 a crime. This is a form of child abuse and now it is recognized as such.
What this bill does.
- Increase monetary penalty if convicted of DUI based on prior if any convictions.
- Increases Ignition interlock requirement from 60 days to six months.
- For all DUI related arrests requires law enforcement to contact Child Protective Services.
- Establishes an enhanced sentence for individuals convicted of DUI-related felonies with a child under age 16 present in the vehicle.
This bill sends a strong message, education and awareness to our children, young adults, and communities this is not allowed and will be punished.
2SHB 2216 - Increasing penalties for vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.
There is an incredible trauma that happens when a family discovers a loved one has been killed by a reckless or drunk driver. These are not accidents. Prosecutors have a difficult time explaining to family members the unfair sentencing requirements for DUI Vehicular Homicide.
HB 2216 recognizes that vehicular homicide while Driving Under the Influence is equal to manslaughter in the 1st degree. The sentencing range currently for DUI Vehicular Homicide is 31-41 months, offender serves generally 20 mo. with good time (in my son’s case his killer served 6 months); under the new law it increase the sentencing range to 78-102 months, and the offender serves 52 mo. with good time (that's still less than 4.5 years). But we are making progress.