A bill introduced by Senators Jim Davis (R-Cherokee) and Terry Van Duyn (D-Buncombe) would give DWI Treatment Court judges one more tool to help make North Carolina roads safer. The idea behind the bill came from a DWI Treatment Court judge who wants to incentivize recovery for DWI defendants.

The desired outcome of the bill is to increase the number of people successfully completing treatment by offering the restoration of driving privileges. Hopefully, more people completing the program will mean safer roads. The reinstatement of driving privileges does not come without some restrictions and costs.  Drivers with these conditional re-instated licenses must have and use an ignition interlock system installed in all cars they drive for the duration of the original revocation period.

The bill would allow judges to conditionally reinstate a revoked drivers license after one year if the defendant provides a certificate of graduation from a Drug or DWI Treatment or Court Program, gets a letter of recommendation from the judge, and pays a $25 fee. The bill sponsor stated that MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) supports the proposal.

The bill met with mixed review by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator Randleman (R-Stokes, Surry, Wilkes) expressed concern that the bill might create the impression of favoritism for individuals with access to the few DWI Treatment Courts around the state.   Senator Barringer (R-Wake) was generally favorable towards the bill, but had some concerns about costs.

The bill needs a majority vote to make it out of the Judiciary Committee.