North Carolina is continuing to combat drunk driving this year with an all-offender interlock bill. Current DWI laws in North Carolina only require ignition interlocks, or car breathalyzers, for first-time drunk drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 or greater, habitual DWI offenders with three or more convictions in seven years, and people who refuse to submit to a breath test when pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving.
Under the new law, all convicted drunk drivers would be required to install the device, a step forward that Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) believes is much needed in the state. According to MADD, North Carolina had 347 fatalities and more than 7,700 injuries resulting from drunk driving in 2013.
While some feel that requiring ignition interlocks for first-time offenders is too harsh, MADD NC State Executive Director LaRonda Scott notes that first-time offenders are just as dangerous as habitual offenders. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that first-time DWI offenders have typically driven drunk at least 80 times before their first arrest.
MADD further reports that three out of four convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license, and North Carolina is no exception. By requiring all convicted drunk drivers to install an interlock, offenders can drive safely and legally.
If the all-offender interlock bill is approved by the Senate and signed into law, North Carolina will join 24 other states in requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Many states with such a law have seen a reduction in drunk driving fatalities of at least 30%, with Arizona seeing a reduction as high as 43%. Both MADD and us at Car Breathalyzer Help hope to see a similar reduction in drunk driving fatalities in North Carolina if the bill is passed.