Celebrating the New Year with drinks? If you get a DUI, you could pay for it for years

By Andrew Hammond

The News Tribune

New Year’s celebrations may be smaller this year, but many still will include alcohol or other substances, putting revelers at risk of a DUI.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) reports there were more drunk-driving related fatalities (285) in the U.S. during the 2018 Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays than during any other holiday period that year. More than half of Washington drivers in fatal crashes who tested positive for cannabis were also positive for alcohol, according to WTSC.

DUIs can be caused by the use of marijuana, prescription drugs and even over the counter drugs like Nyquil and Ambien as well as alcohol.

According to the Northwest Insurance Council, extra patrols will be deployed to look out for impaired motorists, and those DUIs could cost those charged $10,000 or more in fines and court costs.

But it doesn’t stop there.

NW Insurance Council President Kenton Brine said in a statement, “Long after the arrest, conviction, possible jail time and fines, the consequences of having a DUI citation can continue to increase the cost of insurance for offenders.”

To an insurer, having a DUI indicates a highly risky driving history, which is a primary factor insurers use to determine auto insurance premiums. Insurance companies may review a motor vehicle report upon renewal of an auto policy to discover any citations, including a DUI. Drivers with an infraction for DUI would likely see a premium increase or surcharge, or their policy may not be renewed, Brine said.

Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s Target Zero program encourages everyone to “make a plan before you party.” Arrange for a sober designated driver in advance, take a taxi or rideshare or use public transportation. If you’re at someone’s house, spend the night, WTSC says.

For more information, log onto https://www.nwinsurance.org/