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House OKs tougher rules for drunk drivers

Posted April 4, 2013

— State House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Thursday for tighter alcohol restrictions for people convicted of impaired driving. 

Under current law, someone convicted of driving while impaired has limited driving privileges for a year and then can get a restricted license.

If they've been convicted of multiple DWIs or had very high blood-alcohol levels, they're restricted to 0.00 BAC – no alcohol at all in their system when they're behind the wheel.

Drivers with less serious DWIs are restricted to no more than 0.04 blood-alcohol content while driving – half the 0.08 level at which drivers are considered impaired under state law. 

"That says you can continue to drink and drive, just don’t drink as much," said Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake, sponsor of House Bill 41.

Jackson's bill would expand the zero-tolerance law to all DWI drivers with restricted licenses. 

DWI checkpoint Bill calls for zero tolerance for DWI with restricted licenses

“It’s just telling folks, 'Hey, you’ve made a mistake. Don’t do it again. Don’t drink and drive these three years,'” Jackson said. 

The measure passed the House 109-1. It now goes to the Senate. 

Jackson is sponsoring a second bill that would require ignition interlock systems for all DWI offenders, not just for repeat offenders. That bill, House Bill 536, is currently in committee.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is backing both proposals.

The House passed a third DWI-related bill sponsored by Jackson last month.

That proposal would move the trigger for a habitual impaired driving charge from three previous DWI convictions in a 10-year period to two convictions.

According to MADD, 413 people were killed in North Carolina in alcohol-related incidents in 2012.

7 Comments

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  • Sherlock Apr 5, 4:11 p.m.

    What does it matter, a judge will let them off even if they kill someone. All you to do is tell an NC judge that you sorry and it won't happen again. So why mess with the laws you have?

  • SMAPAEA Apr 5, 3:55 p.m.

    Maybe this means that NC will allow more than one interlock company, currently there is a monopoly.

  • jjsmith1973 Apr 5, 2:07 p.m.

    Don't have a problem with this law but do have a problem with it in conjunction with the one that makes two a felony. In my employment I get soaked in alcohol based chemicals constantly. Now hypothetically lets say I get a DWI one day then I'm subjected to this new law .00 fine until the day I am driving home from work and get pulled over for a light being out then have to blow and blow a .01 or .02 because the machines can't tell the difference between drinking alcohol and and chemical alcohol. The body processes these the same way. Does that mean I would now be a felon?

  • Wendellcatlover Apr 5, 8:14 a.m.

    This proposal is still not enough in my opinion. And I would like to know who the 1 representative was that voted against it. What possible reason could there be to vote against stricter DWI laws?

  • Spock Apr 4, 7:34 p.m.

    Still NOT enough of a judicial system that will enforce any of this. Make it black and white, no room for interpretation - if you drink and drive and get caught, that is the last time you drive... period - NO SECOND CHANCE. If you cause death or property damage, then the penalties double and/or the death penalty automatically implies.

  • 68_dodge_polara Apr 4, 4:33 p.m.

    "A second bill that would require ignition interlock systems for all DWI offenders, is currently in committee."

    The lawyer lobby will likely kill this as lawyers make so much of DWIs and this would effectively reduce them more than any other action.

  • mjhooper Apr 4, 2:42 p.m.

    Finally I'm reading of proposed legislation that is helpful to the reputation of NC and its people. I thought it was too late. Now if the Senate can just do its part and the state will fund the judges and other personnel to make this more than damage control window dressing......I won't hold my breath.