KENNEWICK, Wash.-- There are now harsher penalties for drunk drivers who have kids in the car.
Washington state courts are now required to charge an additional fine of 1,000- 5,000 dollars if a child under sixteen-years-old is in the car. Also an offender's jail time will extended an additional year for each child present in the vehicle. Many DUI offenders have devices that stop their car from starting if the driver is intoxicated. If caught drunk driving with children then the time period that those devices must be installed for is tripled. Kennewick Police officer Aaron Hamel says he's encountered kids in a car during drunk driving pull-overs.
"Arrest the driver and there's kids in the car, obviously we're going to contact the parents or another parent or guardian to come and take the kids. And obviously it's a big danger to them and the community."
In Washington of the 40,000 drunk driving arrests, 500 of them have kids in the car.