Van Werven’s ‘Hailey’s Law 2.0’ to keep drunk drivers off the road unanimously passes Public Safety Committee

The House Public Safety Committee has passed legislation that would help keep drunk drivers from accessing their cars shortly after they have been cited for DUI.

House Bill 2483, or Hailey’s Law 2.0, was introduced by Rep. Luanne Van Werven when she learned the original Hailey’s Law passed in 2011 was overturned by the state Supreme Court in 2019.

“Hailey Huntley was in a horrific car accident in 2007 on the Mt. Baker Highway, after her car was struck by a drunk driver who had been pulled over just hours before and cited for a DUI by a state trooper. The driver’s car was not impounded,” said Van Werven, R-Lynden. “Due to jail overcrowding, she was not booked and the trooper took her home. She then called a taxi so she could go retrieve her vehicle. She was still intoxicated when she crashed into Hailey’s car. This driver had actually been pulled over twice that day.”

Hailey spent 45 days in Harborview Medical Center, spent four months in a nursing home, and a year in a wheelchair.

Hailey Huntley provided emotional testimony during the public hearing.

“A vehicle in the hands of someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a weapon,” said Huntley. “I urge you to consider the safety of the public and work hard to get this law back into effect.”

In 2011, “Hailey’s Law” was passed, which placed a mandatory seizure and 12-hour impound on any vehicle driven by a person arrested for DUI. The idea was to ensure a driver would be sober before being able to access the vehicle.

However, the law was appealed following a DUI stop in January 2018. The lawyer for the defendant said the seizure of the car was unconstitutional because it did not meet lawful requirements and could have been released to one of his sober passengers, and the state Supreme Court unanimously agreed.

“Hailey’s Law 2.0 would address the court ruling by allowing an officer to direct the impoundment of a vehicle when no reasonable alternatives exist, such as a sober passenger,” said Van Werven. “In addition, if the officer determines impounding the vehicle is necessary for the protection of the public, the vehicle must be impounded for a minimum of 12 hours. This is a common sense measure to keep innocent people on our roads from going through the tragedy Hailey has had to endure.”

The committee passed the bill unanimously. It now awaits a vote by the full state House of Representatives.

The 60-day 2020 legislative session is scheduled to end March 12.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov