Victim Impact Panel

The Victim Impact Panel (VIP) is dedicated to reducing DUI (driving under the influence) related injuries and fatalities in Whatcom County. Speakers on the VIP share personal testimonies on how a DUI has impacted them, either personally or through the loss or injury of a family member or loved one. The VIP has had a long history of providing a powerful voice about the consequences of impaired driving. The panel exposes the harsh realities of impaired driving, and it creates an appreciation of the seriousness of driving while impaired.

Currently, VIP speakers help to deliver panels every 4-5 weeks (see schedule below). Panels are held in the County Courthouse and typically consist of 2 or 3 speakers who, in a non-accusatory manner, describe the emotional, social, financial, and/or other effects a DUI tragedy has caused in their lives. Some speakers also choose to share their stories at schools and other community events.

The Whatcom County Health Department is continually looking for panelists. If you have been impacted by a DUI and are interested in speaking on the panel, please contact the Whatcom County Health Department at 360-778-6002.

2019 Panel Schedule:

January 7                                    6:30-9:00 PM
February 11                                 6:30-9:00 PM
March 18                                     6:30-9:00 PM
April 22                                        6:30-9:00 PM
May 20                                        6:30-9:00 PM
June 24                                       6:30-9:00 PM
July 29                                        6:30-9:00 PM
August 26                                   6:30-9:00 PM
September 30                             6:30-9:00 PM
November 4                                6:30-9:00 PM
December 9                                6:30-9:00 PM

All panels are held in the council chambers of the county courthouse at 311 Grand Ave in Bellingham, WA.

Language interpretation services are available at no cost. Please call 360-778-6049 at least one week before the panel to make arrangements.
To receive a certificate of attendance, attendees must pay and register before attending.  Registration can be done online or in person at the Health Department on Girard Street. Guests and the general public are welcome to attend free of charge, although the material may be unsuitable for young children.

For more information about impaired driving, read this recent article from a local traffic safety expert.


?Victim Impact Panels have limited capacity, so register early! Online registration usually closes at 11:59 PM the day before a Panel and in-person registration usually closes at 4:30 PM the day of a Panel, but will close sooner if we reach capacity. 
?Online ?Registration Instructions.

Questions or Comments?

Email the panel coordinator:

Call the panel coordinator: 360-778-6049

Visitors Tell How Panels Affect Them

The following comments are from individuals attending DUI Victim Impact Panels across Washington State.
"Not what I expected. Wow!"

"Both speakers had incredible courage, and it’s important for them to share their stories."

We don't have a death hanging over us:

"The impact of the panel is awesome. No one can feel the same as they felt when they walked in, when they walk out. We are the lucky ones, in that we don't have a death hanging over us."

An immense flow of emotion:
"I cannot critique such as immense flow of emotion that I can't even fathom. By the blood of my soul, I will not drink and drive, and I will fight with tooth and nail those who dare."

I used to think:
"As a 1st time offender of DWI, I used to think that the sentencing was too strict; now, I believe it is not strict enough."

A decision to take control:
"Thank you for caring. And, most of all, thank you for helping me make a decision in my life to take control of my own destiny."

Totally overwhelmed:
"I am so totally overwhelmed by this that I cannot adequately put my feelings down on paper. Reality is really difficult to deal with. When I think of what I could have caused, I become very grateful and yet I know I didn't take the time to think things out. I really sincerely believe you have removed 1 more drinking driver from the roads."

A room so quiet:
"I have not sat in a room with this amount of people and had a room so quiet."

I don't want to tell a story like I've heard tonight:

"I sincerely hope that I do not have to ever sit up front like you people and tell a story like I've heard tonight."

Glad I was ordered by the Court to come:

"I was very deeply moved by this panel. I am truly glad I was ordered by the court to come here."

Scares the hell out of me:
"I can honestly say that it scares the hell out of me to think I could inflict this pain on anyone. It will never happen again."