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Ankle Bracelet Keeps Drunk Drivers in Check

Posted April 27, 2007

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— An Orange County judge said an ankle-monitoring bracelet is keeping drunk drivers off the road.

The device is known as the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring system, or SCRAM. Rather than measuring blood-alcohol content, it measures the rate at which alcohol dissipates through the skin and feeds that information to the court system.

"With this device, we can monitor alcohol use and the amount of alcohol use 24/7," said District Judge Joe Buckner, who oversees district courts in Orange and Chatham counties.

An alcohol violation -- or taking the device off -- can put the offender back in jail. Successful use can save limited jail space and help reform repeat offenders, who make up about one-third of all drunken driving arrests in North Carolina.

Buckner said not keeping an eye on the worst drunk drivers is a disservice to victims.

"It dishonors the memory of those people who were killed and the people who were maimed or physically ruined by drunk drivers," he said. "The DWI offender, especially the multiple offender, is more dangerous to more people in our community than any other offender. Even a domestic violence offender tends to have a targeted victim, but the DWI offender is dangerous to everybody on the roads and sidewalks of our community."

Legislators are considering changes to state laws to give judges more freedom to impose the use of the monitoring bracelets.

"Now that we've got the ability to monitor, we owe it to (victims) to do everything we possibly can to prevent further tragedy," Buckner said.

9 Comments

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  • QT3.14 Apr 28, 2007

    Why are they allowed to monitor alcohol use 24/7 if the person is not actually driving? Interesting device, though!

  • Joy4u2 Apr 28, 2007

    I cannot find a thing on here but, a 56 year old hispanic man in Smithfielf was riding his moped, a 36 year old man was driving a loging truck drinking and driving, he his hit and kills this man my daughter was there, he landed in front of her car. She went to him and held him as he was dying, he had no face, his brains were haning out, his whole body was mangeled, but they just keep on drinking and driving. I don't care if there yellow black white red, drunk drivers are murders.

  • anonemoose Apr 27, 2007

    You think Orange County if a joke, come to Franklin County. It's a circus up here.

  • kittnkboodle Apr 27, 2007

    Ummm... let me see... last I knew, we paid for the people in jail too, so what difference would it make? This is probably a whole lot cheaper than feeding, clothing, and providing recreation to an inmate for six months or more!

  • DrCarolina Apr 27, 2007

    Just like the Interlock Ignition System (what you blow into to start your car), the offender would be required to pay the cost of the ankle bracelet and its monitoring, which is done by a private company.

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Apr 27, 2007

    Don't quote me on this, but I think the offender pays a large chunk of it. They tried to implement a year or so ago and it took a while to get going. Most DWI offenders don't have serious criminal histories, so they aren't going to get much jail time for misdemeanors.

  • mindyourown Apr 27, 2007

    Taxpayers more than likely..

  • OD Norwood Apr 27, 2007

    Who picks up the tab for this service? Put'em in jail where they belong!!!

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Apr 27, 2007

    Court in Orange County is a joke, but I like this program. The threat of jail time might not keep repeat offenders from continuing to drive drunk, but this will.