Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law named after a Whatcom woman injured in a DUI head-on accident. The piece of legislation allows Washington law enforcement to order a vehicle to be impounded when there aren’t other reasonable alternatives during a driving under the influence stop.
House Bill 2483, popularly known as Hailey’s Law 2.0, was a response to an October 2019 Washington State Supreme Court ruling that stated that the original Hailey’s Law was unconstitutional.
Taking effect June 10, the new legislation gives officers the power to impound a vehicle if failing to do so exposes the public to unnecessary dangers. The law states that the vehicle must be impounded for a minimum of 12 hours.
The original bill from 2011 is named after a victim of a 2007 head-on collision on the Mount Baker Highway.
A driver who had been drinking was arrested and cited for DUI when an officer found her passed out behind the wheel of her parked car. He left the vehicle parked at the scene.
Because the Whatcom County Jail was overcrowded, the officer drove the woman to her home, giving her back her car keys and telling her to drive only when she had sobered up. Ignoring the officer’s orders, the woman went back to her parked car.
As she drove on Mount Baker Highway, she allowed her vehicle to cross the center line, colliding with the victim’s vehicle head-on.
The victim spent 45 days in Harborview Medical Center for treatment before being sent to a nursing home for four months.
For a whole year after that, the woman was in a wheelchair as a result of her injuries. By the time the law passed, she was still undergoing surgeries to recover.
In January 2018, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that officials had to seek reasonable alternatives before impounding a vehicle. In order to address this issue, legislators passed HB 2483.
Under the new law, impoundment is not mandatory and officials must first look at alternatives. However, it still gives law enforcement the power to impound a vehicle if necessary.
Hopefully, accidents like the one that happened in 2007 can be prevented thanks to this new law.
Driving under the influence exposes innocent people to risks daily. Washington drivers must beware of this fact and act accordingly.
For more on the state’s new DUI law, follow this link.