TACOMA — At the Washington State Patrol’s Tacoma headquarters, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a new DUI bill into law Thursday morning alongside legislators, law enforcement and victim’s family members.
Senate Bill 5912 cracks down on repeat DUI offenders in a number of ways: A second offense will land drunken drivers in jail until they see a judge, and repeat offenders will have an ignition interlock device installed on their cars within five days of arrest.
The new law also tries to address a root cause of our DUI crisis — problem drinking. Washington is the fourth state to require 24-7 sobriety monitoring for repeat offenders; North and South Dakota and Montana have similar laws in place.
“You will have to wear either a bracelet or a different type of technology that shows you are not drinking. If you drink you will go to jail for six months,” Inslee said.
There are also stronger penalties for driving the wrong way while impaired or having children under the age of 16 in the car.
Dan Schulte’s parents were killed and his wife and infant son severely injured this spring when a repeat DUI offender hit them down as they crossed the street in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood.
Schulte’s primary focus is making sure his son and wife get better, but he is also passionate about keeping drunken drivers off the road.
“If I can somehow take what happened to my family and use it in a positive way, I hope to do that,” he said.
The bill officially becomes law Sept. 27 — 90 days after the end of the Legislature’s special session.