Van Werven legislation to keep drunk drivers off the road unanimously passes the House

On Tuesday, the Washington State House of Representatives unanimously passed a measure to keep drunk drivers off the road by preventing them from accessing their cars shortly after they have been cited for DUI.

Rep. Luanne Van Werven, the sponsor of  House Bill 2483, or Hailey’s Law 2.0, introduced the legislation after hearing the story of Hailey Huntley, who had been hit by a drunk driver just hours after she had been cited for DUI.

“Hailey’s Law was passed in 2011 to address the horrific situation that happened to Hailey Huntley on the Mount Baker Highway. Unfortunately, Hailey’s Law was deemed unconstitutional in 2019,” said Van Werven, R-Lynden. “My legislation would address the court’s decision and keep impaired drivers from getting back in their cars and injuring innocent people. This is common sense legislation.”

Van Werven’s bill would allow an officer to direct the impoundment of a vehicle when no reasonable alternatives exist. The bill also reiterates that 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. 

The DUI driver who hit Huntley was not booked into jail because of overcrowding. She was taken home by a state trooper only to call a taxi to go retrieve her car. Huntley spent 45 days in Harborview Medical Center, spent four months in a nursing home, and a year in a wheelchair.

Hailey’s 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.

“It is important we get a new version of Hailey’s Law passed this session. This an ongoing problem,” said Van Werven. “A person in Seattle who was recently pulled over for DUI was able to get his car a few short hours later, only to take out a power pole. Fortunately someone was not seriously injured.”

The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications