One year ago, it became legal for grocery stores, big box stores, and private retailers to sell liquor in Washington state.
When the voter initiative went into effect, there was an expectation that the privatization law would increase tax revenues. There was also a fear that the move would increase the number of drunk driving incidents as consumers could purchase liquor at more than 1600 retailers as compared to the 329 state-run retailers previously.
But while the initiative has increased tax revenues as well as the price for booze, the feared increase in DUI' s has reportedly not occurred, reports Northwest News Network.
According to data from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission through the end of 2012, fatal crashes involving drunk drivers happened less often while privatization was in effect than the two years prior to the law.
There may be many different variables that may account for the decrease in fatal crashes (e.g.; greater enforcement, awareness of DUIs, small sample size), but the statistics do support the notion that privatization did not open the floodgates for drunk drivers.
There is a delicate balance that lawmakers and voters have to consider when debating laws that affect liquor, drunk driving, and revenues. The privatization laws increased revenue, but had the potential to lead to more drunk drivers. On the other hand, lawmakers are currently considering strengthening DUI penalties that could cost a great deal of money to enforce, but could decrease the number of drunk drivers on the road.
As new laws are introduced, you will want to work with an attorney who has stayed on top of recent developments and understands how the laws affect you. Contact the experienced DUI defense attorneys at Wolff Criminal Defense if you have a question about a drunk driving case in the Seattle or King County areas.