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Haugen DUI impound bill signed into law
Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen's proposal to have police impose a 12-hour impound of the vehicles of drivers cited for driving under the influence has been signed into law. Haugen said the new law would make it harder for one bad deed to follow the first.
“The car is a loaded gun when a drunk is driving. It’s time to take the gun out of their hands," Haugen said.
“This gives law enforcement a way to make sure the drunk doesn’t get back behind the wheel. This is a critical tool for law enforcement and clarifies who’s responsible for accidents caused by drunk drivers," said Haugen, a 10th District Democrat who is also chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
JoAnn Hellmann, director of the Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County, praised the work of state lawmakers for getting tough on DUI drivers.
"The fact that our Legislature unanimously backed this on its way to becoming law shows they strongly realize the need for tougher DUI laws in our state," Hellmann said.
"This law will now prevent people after a DUI arrest from immediately getting back in their vehicles and possibly harming or killing someone. After all, people don't make their best decisions when under the influence."
"I applaud Sen. Haugen for long being a proponent of stricter DUI laws and of co-sponsoring this bill, and of the legislators for passing it. Laws like this one help to protect us when personal accountability fails. I hope many others applaud this new law as well since we're all on these roads together," she added.
Haugen's DUI impound bill was passed late last month via a unanimous 46-0 vote in the state Senate.Known as Hailey’s Law, the measure was named after Hailey Huntley, who was hit head-on by a woman who had been cited for DUI but was released, caught a taxicab back to her vehicle, and resumed driving. Huntley suffered a broken pelvis, leg and knee in the crash, as well as a crushed foot and collapsed lungs. She has undergone 16 surgeries in the four years since the crash.
“We have to give a lot of credit to Hailey, who just went through her 16th surgery but has been willing to come testify on behalf of this legislation the past two years despite the painful memories and emotions it triggers," Haugen said.
"There are a lot of people out there who owe her a huge debt, because thanks to her commitment this law will help prevent the kind of tragic accident she suffered.
“I think there’s little question this bill will save lives and prevent horrible injuries. Many, many motorists are safer as of today, thanks to the courage and commitment of Hailey Huntley."