TACOMA, Wash. -- Laws are going to get tougher for drunk drivers. Dan Schulte hopes that will be a trend.
“I think there’s an opportunity to go farther than this,” said Schulte.
His parents were killed by a suspected drunk driver in Seattle in March.
His infant son is home recovering. His wife remains hospitalized.
Schulte was on hand for Thursday’s bill signing ceremony at the Washington State Patrol headquarters in Tacoma. Governor Jay Inslee, D-Washington, signed the bill into effect establishing mandatory jail time for two-time offenders.
The law will also require repeat offenders to prove they have installed interlock ignition devices in their cars.
Under a pilot program, repeat drunk drivers in selected counties and cities will monitored to detect if they have been drinking.
Schulte would have liked the bill to also reduce the number of arrests a drunk driver can have before they are charged with a felony. Currently it takes five arrests before a drunk driver is charged with a felony, which can result in a longer prison sentence.
There was discussion in Olympia to reduce that number to four or three, but lawmakers determine that would be too costly.
Inslee said the issue will come up during next year’s session.
“I think everyone in the state of Washington believes in a fourth time DUI offense, it ought to be a felony in this state. We need to find a way to finance that to make sure that happens,” said Inslee.
Schulte said he will get involved in the legislative process if that helps change the law.
“It’s a very serious crime,” said Schulte.