“We tolerate too much drunken driving in this state,” says the Charlotte Observerr, suggesting in an editorial “a few common-sense rules” that might protect citizens from serial drunk drivers. The newspaper cites the case of Kevin Ohagan, a man with a long criminal record including six DWI convictions who police say fled a traffic stop Sunday and drove head-on into another vehicle, killing a father of three. Ohagan has been arrested at least 18 times and has a dozen convictions. He was awaiting trial on charges of felony child abuse.
The state’s DWI programs have simply been inadequate, says the newspaper. Taking away a driver’s license has had little effect. The newspaper’s suggestions: Rescind a state advisory panel’s ban on using alcohol monitoring bracelets for longer than 60 days for repeat offenders. Require ignition interlock devices to be installed on a DWI offender’s vehicles after the first conviction for DWI. Current practice is to wait until a second, but that’s too long. Make drunk driving a felony after the third DWI conviction within a decade – and require prison time. It may be costly, but behind bars drunk drivers won’t be mowing anyone down.