DUI impound law keeping drunks off local roads

DUI impound law keeping drunks off local roads »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- KEPR is checking-in on a law that's meant to keep drunks off our roads.

In a mess of mangled metal, towing jobs are making the Tri-Cities a safer place and giving drunks less ignition to cause tragedy.

"There's very few circumstances where the vehicle will not be impounded... the percentage is high," says Lt. Michael Saunders, Washington State Patrol.

Since last July, anyone busted for DUI has had their car impounded for 12 hours after an arrest. The goal was to give drunks enough time to sober up before they could get back on the road; something that didn't always happen before. And nearly a year after the "impound law" took effect, KEPR spotted positive results . Troopers tell us 99% of all DUI arrests here in the Tri-Cities have led to an impoundment. That's more than 500 cases in less than a year.

12 hours might be the standard for keeping cars impounded, but Action News learned cars could kept much longer, because many drivers booked under DUI have criminal warrants.

Under the rules, drunk drivers have to pay the fees that come with an impound; infusing local tow companies with tons of cash and keeping families safer across our area.

Impound lots tell us most drunk drivers retrieve their cars within two days after an arrest.