Local News

Statewide Database, More Checkpoints Among Suggestions By DWI Task Force

Posted December 8, 2004

— A DWI task force wants to catch and convict more drunken drivers. While everyone agrees things need to get better, some disagree on the approach.

Members are pushing for a statewide database to improve the conviction rate, less time between arrest and trial and more of the DWI checkpoints. In fact, they are working on a plan that may require each county to do one every 30 days.

"Experts tell us what complies with human nature. If they are out looking for you, you will be less likely to get out there," said Sen. Tony Rand, co-chairman of the task force.

Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell believes checkpoints are effective, but he does not think they should be mandated.

"I don't need anyone to tell me when, where and how to do my job. I'm doing it anyhow," he said.

Task force members point out DWI checkpoints do not just catch drunk drivers. They often catch people for other offenses, such as drugs or driving without licenses.

The DWI task force plans to wrap up a final report and submit it to the Gov. Mike Easley in January. Some other recommendations include:

  • Clarifying the law so that a chemical analysis of .08 alone is enough to convict someone of DWI.
  • An increase in punishment for felony death by motor vehicle.
  • Requiring punishment for underage drinking and driving that goes beyond community service.


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