Washington State DUI arrests decrease after liquor sales privatized

I recently was checking out news articles trying to think of a new topic for my DUI blog.  And I came across this gem.  It’s from mynorthwest.com and discusses how since Washington State has gotten out of the liquor store business and liquor sales have become privatized (meaning if you want a bottle of scotch all you have to do is go down to your local QFC), DUI arrests have actually decreased surprisingly.

I remember when this initiative was on the ballot.  All you would hear from opponents of this measure was how alcohol killed more children than any other drug, and then you would hear from some parent who lost a child to a drunk driver.  A pretty powerful message if you ask me.

Well according to this article.  Between June 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012 there were 21,577 DUI arrests and 2,575 collisions related to alcohol, according to data from the Washington State Patrol. There were 19,703 DUI arrests the following year – June of 2012 through June of 2013 – with liquor sales in grocery stores and other retail businesses. The state patrol reported 2,347 collisions in that time frame.

So by those calculations.  The amount of DUI arrests and collisions on Washington State actually decreased.  Which brings me to my next point.  Lately here in Washington State and specifically King County there has been a lot of negative media towards the existing DUI laws.  People want the laws changed, they want increased penalties, they want DUI offenders put in jail, etc.

Despite being a DUI lawyer in Seattle, I’m not in favor of drunk driving.  In fact my wife and I have a strict zero limit if we are going to consume alcohol.  This has more to do with the fact you can get arrested for a DUI in King County if you’re below the legal limit more so than our personal views.  But in my opinion changing the laws is not going to deter people from drinking and driving.  Unfortunately I have no idea what will, but standing on a podium screaming at the top of your lungs about how evil it is to drink and drive and demanding change is not going to work.

Short of requiring ignition interlock devices in every vehicle manufactured or prohibition I have no clue what is the right course of action.  But I do know that all the statistics that are being cited, all the hysteria over changing the DUI laws is not going to work.  Heck you would have thought that DUI arrests would have increased following the privatizing of liquor sales in Washington State, yet they didn’t.  It just goes to show you that sometimes the group think is not always right.

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About the author:  Matthew Leyba is a DUI lawyer in the Seattle Bellevue area of Western WA.  He has been voted as a Rising Star in the area of DUI Defense by the Seattle Met Magazine, an honor less than 2.5% of all Attorneys receive.  Additionally he is also rated as a 10/10 Suburb DUI lawyer by Avvo.com

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