What can be done to try to curb fatal DUI accidents?

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SEATTLE — It’s been a deadly few weeks on Western Washington roads — three people killed and eight hurt in what police say are all drunken driving crashes.

Most would agree something needs to be done to stop what seems to be a growing problem of impaired driving.

It’s not a new problem, but there seems to be a new sense of urgency with so much loss of life in such a short period of time.

The deadly DUI related fatal crash Thursday morning on SR 520 near Montlake didn’t have to happen and Morgan Williams, the woman killed in the head-on collision by a suspected DUI wrong-way driver, didn’t have to die.

State Rep. Roger Goodman, D-Kirkland, said he believes one solution might be his pending DUI bill, which, in part, would crack down on the type of crashes seen Thursday.

“Wrong-way DUI, driving drunk down the wrong way is an extremely dangerous situation; we’d be increasing penalties on that, so there are many provisions in the bill,” Goodman said.

That legislation hasn’t made it to a vote yet, but with three fatal DUI crashes in the area in just the last month, many feel it’s time to send a stronger message.

North Star Treatment Group owner and substance abuse counselor Craig Rock said most of the people who take his alcohol education class do so by court order.

But, because of recent DUI fatality crashes, he is offering the class free to anyone except those with a court order.

He believes what can be learned here could save lives.

“Because if you understand how to use alcohol or intoxicants responsibly, then you’re going to know how to operate a vehicle and not be in danger to yourself or other people,” Rock said.

North Star Treatment Group offers a class full of information, and there are drunken driving survivors and family members who share very emotional stories about the impact drunken drivers had on their lives.

To learn more about North Start Treatment Group, click here.

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  • Kathy

    We need to address first offenders harsher, and impose a huge penalty on repeat offenders. I have known people who went through the court ordered treatment for a year, at their expense, and stopped at a bar on their way home from their last class. This person learned nothing, but just went through the motions for the court. The offense was not the first, and was after a DUI accident. Fortunately no one was hurt. It used to be that you had to watch for the drunks late at night…not any more. These accidents seem to be happening at all times of day and night. How many have to be injured or killed before the court stops releasing them.

  • guest

    we certainly need harsher punishments but what did voters expect when they put booze on every store shelf? any idiot could see the problem would only get worse. and wait till they start walking into stores to buy dope, do you really think that won't contribute to these kinds of problems?

    • Kathy

      This really has nothing to do with where alcohol is sold. In most cases these are alcoholics that would get alcohol wherever it was sold. It is about courts that aren't taking DUI's seriously enough. I know many responsible drinkers, who don't overdo and don't put others in danger when they do. I blame the court system for turning them loose and for not monitoring the installed devices on cars. Of the 46,000 (staggering amount) of people who should have the devices on their cars, they estimate that little more than 25,000 actually have them installed or use the car that it is installed in.

  • d johnson

    there were 4 not 3 dui deaths in the last week..tahuya is a small community but we are in western washington..we are also mourning a loss do to a dui hit and run..marv jansen deserves needs to also be recognized, he to was a victim..may he be remembered by all as the man with the smile that could melt the coldest of hearts..

  • Block Watcher

    The beverage industry and popular culture are constantly telling us to drink alcohol of various kinds. Every occasion is celebrated with drinks; I got raise, 1st unemployment check, birthdays, holidays, happy hour, be a man, one for the road, sporting events and on and on. Beer commercials with beautiful people on TV are very funny, but crashing your car isn't.

  • Dave

    DUI Accedents that kill the other inicent people should be considered murder!! Even if it is the first DUI this person has had.


    $10,000 Fine for first offenders, plus loss of license for a year. Second DUI: Prison for 2-3 years plus permanent loss of license. Killing someone while driving drunk: MURDER!!! The courts have GOT to stop giving DUI offenders a mere slap on the wrist!!

  • DMan

    This isn't rocket science. Enough with the slap on the hand. First time offense should be classified as a felony. Huge fine with prison time. Second time…throw away the key.

    These deaths are unacceptable.

  • Guest

    Maybe we should do a universal back ground check on every purchaser, require a "cooling off period", and limit the capacity of all containers to less than 10 ounces. No one needs more than 10 ounces anyway.
    Or, we could mourn the loss of innocent lives and just hammer the morons who can't figure out that the first time is too many. Kudos to the offer of a free class, but what sad commentary on the lowering of our collective IQs and the need for a class at all.

  • guest

    Take their license away? Really? They just drive without it! That's the kind of thinking that lets this problem go on. and on, and on

  • Denise

    Enforce the laws we have in place – do not allow the accused to plead to lesser charges – do not shorten the fines and/or jail time. Why do we have laws if they are being bent so far out of whack that they don't do any good?

  • Al Grinche

    The solution is simple. Just as Progressives believe that guns kill people; therefore take away everyone’s guns…..since automobiles kill people; therefore take away everyone’s automobiles. It would be easier since there is no pesky Constitutional right to own automobiles. Not only that, the Environmentalists would love it.

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