A bill aiming to curb drunken driving and save lives was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Chris Gregoire.
House Bill 3254 allows for a provisional license in which individuals who have been convicted of drunk driving will be allowed to drive, so long as they have an alcohol-detecting device installed in their car. If there is alcohol present in their system, the car will not work.
Current law suspends the licenses of DUI offenders, but around 75 percent drive without a license anyway. Drivers without licenses are particularly dangerous on Washington’s roads, involved in 20 percent of all fatal crashes each year.
The new statute is modeled after a New Mexico law, which has helped that state see around a 30 percent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities. In Washington state, a 30 percent decrease in 2006 would have been about 100 lives.
This law will be enacted on Jan. 1, 2009.