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Task Force Tackles Confiscated Car Accumulation

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RALEIGH — A program to confiscate the cars of habitual drunk drivers was supposed to benefit schools, but what looks good on paper doesn't always work in reality. Now, a special DWI task force has announced some specific recommendations for handling of the seizures.

When new DWI legislation went into effect on December 1, 1997, including a provision that allows for confiscation of vehicles from some drunk drivers, no one really knew what was going to happen,because it is landmark legislation.

Then school lots started filling up with cars seized in drunk driving cases. The storage and selling of these cars has become a big burden to schools, and a task force has come up with some guidelines for handling this problem and others.

For 10 weeks, the 35 member task force has been hammering out new rules. Since the law went into effect in December, 2,000 cars have been confiscated. Schools say the cars sit for months while cases go through the court system.

The new rules would allow schools to move and sell the cars more quickly.

The new rules also help protect innocent people whose car is confiscated when someone else is behind the wheel drunk. Another part of the rules, zero-tolerance for commercial drivers, means permanent license revocation if any alcohol is found in a commercial driver's system.

The recommended rules will now be forwarded to the legislature for its approval during itsshort session which begins Monday. The guidelines will take the form of a new bill which the task force hopes will make DWI laws easier to administer and enforce. Amanda Lamb joins us from our newsroom with more.

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Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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