Lovick bill aiding children of victims of drunk driving passes Senate.

OLYMPIA – Legislation allowing courts to order drunk drivers who kill or permanently disable a parent to pay child support towards the care of the victim’s children passed the Senate today.

“This legislation is about accountability; it’s about holding drunk drivers accountable. I am sick of people dying because of a drunk driver,” said Sen. John Lovick (D-Mill Creek), the prime sponsor of SB 5841. “These collisions are completely preventable, and that means that we need to hold these drunk drivers responsible for the damage they cause.”

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, at least 800 people died on Washington roads in 2023, the most since 1990. Over half of these fatal accidents involved a driver under the influence. 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.

“Right now, Washington state has one DUI related death every day,” Lovick said. “That’s one person every day never again coming home to their families. Melanie’s Law can’t bring back the parents killed or disabled by a drunk driver, but it will make sure we hold drivers accountable for the harm their choice caused, and it will help the children who are the forgotten victims of these collisions.”

The bill will now move to the House for consideration. Its progress can be tracked here.