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Washington’s DUI laws need to be strengthened | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To the editor:
I’ve been trying to understand this. Our Washington State Legislature passed a law last year requiring all homeowners to install a carbon monoxide detector because nine people died of carbon monoxide poisoning over the last several years. (Note: That’s nine out of the population of our entire state of over 6.7 million - and, as I understand it, the people who died brought outdoor grills inside their homes for heat during a power outage!)
So, everyone now in our entire state will be protected while in their homes or offices because we must have a carbon monoxide detector. That is, if we remember to change the batteries and those very few remember not to bring their outdoor grills inside during a storm.
But then, there’s this. Our Legislature has not acted on changing the law that allows someone who is charged with a DUI and is found guilty of vehicular homicide to be sentenced to a maximum penalty of only about eight years in prison.
Granted, these two examples are different, but think about it. I don’t have the statistics on deaths caused by intoxicated drivers, but I’m sure it’s exponentially greater than the nine killed by carbon monoxide poisoning.
The only conclusion I can draw on our Legislature’s quick action on the carbon monoxide detectors and no action on changing the law regarding vehicular homicide caused by DUIs is the possibility that companies making carbon monoxide devices contribute financially to the campaigns of our elected officials, and dead people cannot.
The death of the parents in Seattle’s Wedgewood neighborhood two weeks ago, caused by the repeat DUI driver, demands a change in our laws.