O’Ban votes for tougher DUI law; Senate bill would make roads safer


Sen. Steve O'Ban and Sen. Mike Padden

Sen. Steve O’Ban and Sen. Mike Padden

In the midst of ongoing budget negotiations, the Senate unanimously approved a measure Wednesday that improves public safety in Washington in an effort to keep drunk drivers off the road.

Sen. Steve O’Ban, vice chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee, believes the bill will save lives and help DUI offenders stay sober.

“This is an important bill. I appreciate how Senator Mike Padden, the law and justice committee chairman who introduced and worked this measure, struck the appropriate balance of stiffening the consequences of driving under the influence while treating the underlying addiction,” said O’Ban, R-Pierce County, who works as an attorney outside of the Legislature.

“Next year I hope we can strengthen the DUI laws further by making it a felony on the fourth DUI conviction, something I know Sen. Padden supported, but budget writers said we could not afford this year.”

The approved measure would initiate five 24/7 sobriety-pilot-programs, which would be self-funded so as to not place a financial burden on local governments. The bill would also require an automatic arrest for a second DUI offense and increase the use of ignition-interlock devices.

SB 5912 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.