The N.C. House voted to toughen two state laws targeting repeat drunken drivers.
Both bills were sponsored by Democratic Rep. Darren Jackson of Wake County, and they garnered support from both parties. Jackson pointed to 2013 statistics that showed about one-third of traffic fatalities in North Carolina involved drunken drivers.
The first measure, House Bill 32, would lower the threshold for a habitual drunken driving charge. The current law applies to drivers charged four or more times within 10 years. If Jackson’s bill becomes law, a driver would be charged with habitual DWI on the third offense within 10 years.
Habitual drunken driving is a felony that carries a minimum of one year in jail, and the sentence can’t be suspended. Convicted drivers must also complete a substance abuse program while in jail or as a condition of parole.