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Alcohol-Monitoring Device Trims Repeat DWI Offenses

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RALEIGH, N.C. — There's some encouraging news in the fight against drunken driving -- a high-tech ankle bracelet is getting credit for rehabilitating repeat offenders.

It's called SCRAM, short for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor. The device measures alcohol consumption 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More and more counties throughout the state are using the anklets to keep track of repeat drunken drivers.

After using the device for nearly a year, Orange County Judge Joe Buckner says the results are impressive. "We're pretty happy with the results," Buckner said. He recalls only two out of 75 cases in which the ankle bracelet didn't stop drinkers.

While the ankle bracelets are a good tool to rehabilitate drunken drivers, the real purpose is to protect the driving public -- everyone out there who becomes an instant target of a drunken driver's careless behavior.

Attorney Ron Merrit says for his clients, the bracelet provides a way to prove progress.

"It certainly works and it tells the court and gives us something to show the court that the person hasn't been drinking in four months and we can prove it," Merrit said.

Judges usually require people to wear the anklet for three to five months. The company that makes SCRAM boasts an 86 percent compliance rate in North Carolina -- meaning 86 percent of the people using the bracelets did not drink while they had the bracelet on.

Orange County, Durham, Charlotte, Rocky Mount are all using the SCRAM anklets, but the device is not being used not statewide yet.


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