All individuals, including those who live in Seattle, Washington, want to keep their roads safe. This is why states including Washington have adopted stringent DUI penalties for drunk driving offenses. A first time DUI conviction could mean a hefty fine and having a defendant's driver's license suspended or revoked. However, are these severe laws the best way to prevent drunk driving?
Washington state lawmakers have established a proposal that will increase the severity of penalties for drunk driving. The aggressive proposal includes a longer jail or prison sentence, charging defendants quickly and banning offenders from purchasing alcohol for 10 years. The possible legislation would call for individuals suspected of driving under the influence to be charged more quickly than it currently does and the installation of an ignition interlock system before the car is returned to the individual.
The proposal also includes a provision that would require a six-month minimum sentence for a two time drunk driving offender and a one-year minimum for a person convicted of three drunk driving offenses. Rather than then jail time, there would be an option in place for these individuals that would allow them to wear a bracelet that can track whether the individual has been drinking alcohol.
An alternative to this proposal is to implement mandatory state alcohol education or treatment programs. Some states already have mandatory alcohol education laws in place. In these states, the education and treatment programs are required before a defendant convicted of DUI has their driving privileges reinstated.
Keeping the roads safe is an important initiative for cities like Seattle. It is important to remember that there may be other alternatives to these tough DUI laws that may assist in preventing drunk driving.
Source: The Seattle Times, "Inslee, lawmakers plan 'aggressive' DUI crackdown," Brian M. Rosenthal, April 16, 2013