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Lawmakers consider special DUI driver license, alcohol bracelet

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network

Repeat drunk drivers in Washington may soon carry a scarlet letter driver’s license and have to wear an alcohol detection bracelet. Those are just two of the requirements contained in DUI legislation proposed Tuesday in Olympia.

The bipartisan plan follows two recent drunk driving tragedies in the Seattle area. 

House Public Safety Chair Roger Goodman says the ankle bracelet detects alcohol consumption and alerts authorities.

“The choice is six months in jail on your second offense, one year in jail on your third offense or wear the bracelet, go to treatment, put the ignition interlock on your car [and] you can live your life—you just have to live it alcohol-free," said Goodman.

Third-time drunk drivers would also be prohibited from purchasing alcohol for 10 years and have to carry a special DUI driver’s license. In addition, Washington lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee propose to treat drunk driving like a domestic violence incident with mandatory arrest and booking into jail.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.

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