SEATTLE — A Washington state lawmaker and two county prosecutors are backing proposed legislation to double sentencing ranges for people convicted of drunken driving fatalities.
State Rep. Christopher Hurst, D-Enumclaw, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist on Wednesday spoke in support of proposed legislation that would substantially increase a first-time sentence for vehicular homicide.
The range is currently 31 months to 41 months in prison. That would increase to 78 to 102 months under the proposal, which would make it consistent with the sentence for first-degree manslaughter.
Hurst, who is chair of the House Public Safety Committee and was also a police officer for 25 years, plans to introduce the bill during the upcoming legislative session.
“I’ve seen the terrible carnage at these collision scenes and know the immeasurable suffering of surviving family members because some idiot chose to drive drunk,” Hurst said. “It’s time that we made the punishment fit the crime.”
The legislation also would double the sentencing ranges for vehicular homicides based on reckless driving or disregard for the safety of others, and vehicular assault.
State Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, also plans to introduce a vehicular homicide bill in the Senate that aims to increase the sentencing ranges for drunken-driving fatalities. Frockt said his bill already has 13 co-sponsors.
In 2010, there were 170 traffic fatalities in the state that resulted from impaired driving, according to the Washington state branch of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.