A North Carolina woman kept her driver’s license despite eight speeding offenses. It took killing a man to get her off the road, says the Raleigh News & Observer. Speed-related crashes kill about 10 people a week in North Carolina, far more than are killed in crashes involving alcohol. While state legislators and courts have gotten tough on drunken drivers, they have eased up on speeders.
Legislators have created major loopholes in laws designed to slow drivers down. Traffic courts are so crowded that district attorneys and judges have thrown up their hands, an investigation by the newspaper shows. They are letting almost 80 percent of speeding defendants — well over half a million a year — get off easy. In some cases, district attorneys allow speeders to say their speedometers were broken, sidestepping driver’s license and insurance penalties. In others, judges grant a “prayer for judgment continued,” which also avoids driver’s license points and insurance hikes. As a result of these loopholes, the overwhelming majority of speeders saved their driver’s licenses and avoided any increase in their insurance rates. Most speeders are not convicted as charged, especially those ticketed at high speeds. In the most recent fiscal year, only 2.4 percent of those accused of driving above 55 mph and more than 15 mph over the limit were convicted as charged.