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'Pump and Dash' Violators Could Lose Drivers' License

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A new state law took effect in January 2002. In addition to criminal charges for larceny, people who fill up with gas and drive off without paying could also lose their drivers' licenses.

Gary Harris of the North Carolina Petroleum Marketers Association lobbied legislators to pass a law, adding the new penalty to habitual drive-offs. Decals are supposed to be getting the word out.

"I've had calls from several of my members who are saying the decals on the pumps are making a difference," he said.

Statistics show over the last eight months that Durham still averaged one or more drive-offs per day. Some station owners would not mind seeing a new law requiring everyone pay first, pump later.

Steve Byers of Raleigh has a pay-first policy, but he said some stations are at a competitive disadvantage if everyone is not playing by that same rule.

"It would be a little less convenient for the customer, but it would be a lot less stressful on the business and the industry as a whole, I think," Byers said.

Daniel Trimpey is a regular at Byers' pumps, so Byers waives the pay-first policy for him.

"I hope that they don't pass a law that requires you to pay ahead of time. It's nice if they can make that decision at their own location," Trimpey said.

The new law revokes the driver's license for six months upon conviction of two or more drive-offs. Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia already have that same law in place.


Rick Armstrong, Reporter
Rick Armstrong, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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