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New DUI law in effect starting at midnight

SEATTLE — This past year, we have seen far too many people killed by drivers who are drunk or on drugs. Two weeks ago, a man police say was high on meth was racing down I-405 at 100 miles an hour when he crashed into three cars, killing Ian Beckford, 22.

Tragedies like that spurred lawmakers into action earlier this year. On Saturday, a new DUI bill will officially become law.

“We’re going to crack down on repeat offenders. If you have one DUI in your past, watch out,” Rep. Roger Goodman (D-Kirkland) said.

On a second arrest, impaired drivers will now be booked and remain in jail until they see a judge. Then, they must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle within five days.

Repeat offenders will also have to wear an alcohol detection bracelet or similar device. If they do drink, they could go back to jail for six months. The new law also imposes tougher penalties for wrong-way drunk drivers and those who have children in their cars.

Goodman is part of a working group ordered by Gov. Inslee to craft new legislation for next year. Goodman expects roadside sobriety checkpoints to be considered, as well as reducing the number of convictions it takes for a DUI to become a felony from five to three.

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