Harsher drunk driving laws set to take effect Jan. 1

SEATTLE -- Drunk drivers will face harsher penalties as of January 1 as part of a pilot program to crack down on repeat offenders.

"Nobody needs to be out drinking and driving, it's pretty scary. I didn't realize it was that bad until I finally got caught with it," said Corey Moe, who has been arrested for DUI.

The pilot program, called 24/7, will be unveiled in Chelan, Spokane and Thurston Counties, as well as the cities of Kent and Centralia.

A judge may require the repeat offender to wear an ankle monitor that can measure whether the person has been drinking. There's also a home breathalyzer device, where the person is tested randomly throughout the day. Those results are then forwarded by cellular modem to authorities.

The other option is to report to the local jail twice a day for a breathalyzer test, but some critics say that option is flawed because the person can drink and sober up between tests.

Those who fail the tests could be sent to jail.

Moe, who is getting a breath alcohol ignition interlock device installed in his car, said any program that may deter drinking and driving is a step in the right direction.

"It's not safe at all," he said. "I've seen so many accidents and problems from DUIs."