46.55.300  <<  46.55.350 >>   46.55.360

RCW 46.55.350

Findings—Intent.

(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) Despite every effort, the problem of driving or controlling a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs remains a great threat to the lives and safety of citizens. Over five hundred people are killed by traffic accidents in Washington each year and impaired vehicle drivers account for almost forty-five percent, or over two hundred deaths per year. That is, impairment is the leading cause of traffic deaths in this state;
(b) Over thirty-nine thousand people are arrested each year in Washington for driving or controlling a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Persons arrested for driving or controlling a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs may still be impaired after they are cited and released and could return to drive or control a vehicle. If the vehicle was impounded, there is nothing to stop the impaired person from going to the tow truck operator's storage facility and redeeming the vehicle while still impaired;
(c) More can be done to deter those arrested for driving or controlling a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Approximately one-third of those arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence are repeat offenders. Vehicle impoundment effectively increases deterrence and prevents an impaired driver from accessing the vehicle for a specified time. In addition, vehicle impoundment provides an appropriate measure of accountability for registered owners who allow impaired drivers to drive or control their vehicles, but it also allows the registered owners to redeem their vehicles once impounded. Any inconvenience on a registered owner is outweighed by the need to protect the public;
(d) In order to protect public safety and to enforce the state's laws, it is reasonable and necessary to mandatorily impound the vehicle operated by a person who has been arrested for driving or controlling a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
(2) The legislature intends by chapter 167, Laws of 2011:
(a) To change the primary reason for impounding the vehicle operated by a person arrested for driving or controlling a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The purpose of impoundment under chapter 167, Laws of 2011 is to protect the public from a person operating a vehicle while still impaired, rather than to prevent a potential traffic obstruction; and
(b) To require that officers have no discretion as to whether or not to order an impound after they have arrested a vehicle driver with reasonable grounds to believe the driver of the vehicle was driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or was in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
NOTES:
Short title2011 c 167: "This act shall be known and cited as Hailey's Law." [ 2011 c 167 § 1.]
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