Proposed Drunk Driving Law In North Carolina Could Make Things Tougher For Repeat Offenders

Could repeat-offender drunk drivers in North Carolina face stricter laws in the future? Tomorrow, the NC House will consider a new bill that could add mandatory jail time, require the use of ignition interlock systems, and require the extended use of alcohol intake monitoring for those who have been charged with multiple DWIs in the state.

The new anti-drunk driving bill was introduced by Republican North Carolina state representative Tim Moore of Cleveland County.

The law is being called “Laura’s Law” for a 17-year-old Gaston County girl, Laura Fortenberry, who was the innocent victim of a drunk driving car accident in the summer of 2010. The man who struck and killed Fortenberry had been convicted of driving while intoxicated on three other occasions.

The accident took place in July of last year, when 28-year-old Howard Pasour of Bessemmer County, North Carolina, tried to pass multiple cars on a two-lane Dallas-Cherryville Highway. While trying to pass, he hit an oncoming car head-on. Fortenberry, a passenger in the car, was killed in the accident. Pasour was charged with driving while intoxicated, second-degree murder, and assault with a deadly weapon.

Just days after the fatal car accident, Fortenberry’s mother, Michelle Armstrong, began to talk to lawmakers about making it more difficult for repeat drunk driving offenders to get behind the wheel again. More specifically, she believes that the man who killed her daughter should have been wearing an alcohol-monitoring bracelet that would alert police if he became intoxicated. However, current North Carolina laws only require repeat offenders to wear the bracelets for 60 days. In addition, North Carolina does not have any laws that require drivers to install ignition interlock systems that would prevent repeat offenders from starting their vehicle while drunk.

This week, Armstrong made a plea to the House lawmakers to pass the bill and keep chronic drunk drivers out from behind the wheel. The bill will have to pass the House and the Senate before it is given to the Governor for approval and passed into law.