Lovick bill would allow restitution for children whose parents are killed or disabled by drunk driver. 

OLYMPIA – Legislation that would allow courts to order drunk drivers who killed or permanently disabled a parent to pay child support towards the care of the victim’s children will be heard today in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice. 

“Drunk driving is not a victimless crime, and we need to ensure that the children whose parents have been killed or disabled by drunk drivers are being cared for,” said Sen. John Lovick (D-Mill Creek), the prime sponsor of SB 5841. “750 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2022; more than half of those were because of an intoxicated driver. We must take steps to prevent drunk driving, but we also need to address the immense human cost of drunk driving.” 

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, 2022 was the deadliest year for drivers since 1990. Washington State saw a 55% increase in fatalities resulting from impaired drivers between 2019 and 2022. 

Melanie’s Law was first passed in Kentucky by Kentucky Sen. David Yates (D-Louisville). It is named in honor of Sen. Yates’ cousin Melanie Hull, who was permanently disabled and unable to care for her young child after her car was struck by a drunk driver in 2022.  

“Driving under the influence is a choice, and when people choose to drink and drive, they are choosing to put innocent lives at risk,” Lovick said. “Melanie’s Law can’t bring the parents killed or disabled by a drunk driver back, but it will make sure we hold drivers accountable for the harm their choice caused.” 

The committee will hold an executive session on the bill Jan. 18th. Its progress can be tracked here.