Wash. Lawmakers Propose New DUI Penalties

Feb 23, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmakers are taking a multi-faceted approach to crack down on drunk driving. These proposals would increase jail time and other penalties. Another measure could require a drunk driver who kills a parent to pay child support for the surviving children. That proposal had a hearing Wednesday. Azusa Uchikura has more from Olympia.

The legislation applies to cases of vehicular homicide where the driver was drunk. Lawmakers want to explicitly give judges the option to sentence the offender to pay child support to the victim’s family. Prime sponsor, Democrat Roger Goodman, says he was motivated by a tragedy last summer.

Goodman: “My neighbor and friend and constituent Steve Lacy was driving sunny Saturday afternoon home from Costco. A guy who was three times over the limit just crushed him, killed him on impact. But what really got us were the wife and the two children, the two young girls who were left behind.”

Some lawmakers are particularly concerned about possible increases in DUI and vehicular homicides because of the upcoming privatization of state liquor stores in Washington. Another proposal under consideration would more than double the maximum jail time for vehicular homicide to eight-and-a-half years. Yet another proposal would increase the fines for driving drunk with a child in the car.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network