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NC Legislator: Current Laws Are Not A Deterrent

11:14 PM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC --Too often we talk about drunk drivers.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.), 412 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2012. Another 8,500 people were hurt.

That's thousands of people affected by drunk driving crashes, and that doesn't even include the families impacted.

Many of those drunk drivers are repeat offenders. But some state lawmakers think they have an answer of how to stop the recidivism: Ignition Interlock Systems.

Last year, North Carolina was considering ignition locks for offenders. Fast-forward one year -- we're actually seeing the paperwork.

Legislators, like Rep. John Faircloth, said we need to make changes.

"Under the present system, where people are convicted even for their first offense of drunk driving, they can get their license taken away for a certain amount of time and so many of them continue to drive, it doesn't seem to be much of a deterrent," said Faircloth.

Faircloth said studies show as many as 60 percent of people who have had their license taken away continue to drive.

So, legislators started looking into a program that would give offenders the option of keeping their license and having limited driving privileges. But, there's one catch: they have to have an interlock device in their car.

An interlock device is a breath-testing device that a driver blows into before starting their vehicle.

If their blood-alcohol content exceeds a preset level, the vehicle will not start.

Advocates told WFMY News 2, for some offenders, it shouldn't even be an option.

"Let's move it up, and on the second DWI, you automatically go to the anti-lock device. That is what the victims would like to see. That is what advocates like myself would like to see," said Michael Jackson, executive director of the Crash Prevention Network. "Anything we can do to keep someone from losing a family member, then we're in favor of it."

Several states already have interlock ignition laws in place for first-time offenders.

Faircloth said North Carolina legislators will have to discuss safeguards, so they can be sure someone isn't using the device for the driver.

Faircloth also said there would be an installation fee for the interlock devices, which would be somewhere around $60. There would also be a monthly fee, which the offender would have to pay.

WFMY News 2

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