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DWI Enforcement Stats Released

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RALEIGH — North Carolina leads the nation in the battle against drunk driving. Still, improvements need to be made in convictions and keeping habitual drunk drivers off the road.

The Alcohol/Drug Council of North Carolinaheld a news conference today at which they released the rankings of counties and judicial districts on the effectiveness of DWI enforcement for the past three years.

The index compiled arrests, convictions and miles driven for each judicial district. The index shows enforcement far more effective in Caswell and Person Counties than any other judicial district in the state. The Council says judges and citizens in those areas simply will not put up with drunk driving.

The study calls for implementing a system to track DWI offenders from arrest to treatment. "The compliance rate of people who are ordered to treatment is about 50 percent in this state, and that's atrocious. We need some way of tracking people and making sure they comply with the treatment," said Tony Mulvihill.

Durham, Wake, Mecklenburg, Chatham and Orange Counties, in that order, rank as the worst in enforcement.

"I noticed that the counties at the bottom seemed to be high income counties," said Tony Mulvihill, head of the council. "I wonder if that has anything to do with anything. Police say they are doing more important things: chasing drug dealers and that kind of thing, dealing with high crime rates in big cities."

The council calls for increased arrest rates, increased conviction rates, and better cooperation among law enforcement, the judicial system and the Governor's Highway Safety program.

The Council also says more money is needed to train district court judges and assistant prosecutors who may not be adept at prosecuting DWI cases.

The Alcohol Drug Council says it wants to let every North Carolinian know just how important it is to boost DWI arrests and convictions. Last year, more than 400 people were killed in North Carolina in DWI accidents.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
Kay Miller, Web Editor

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