The 2017 panel recommends the statute and form utilized in North Carolina act as the model for the enactment and implementation of this legal requirement. This mandated form will add transparency and help identify why impaired driving cases where a child is a passenger are being dismissed. It will reaffirm that children are our most precious resource and will hopefully reduce the number of cases being dismissed. A sample of the form is included in the report attachments. The panel also recommends that this form be made public. In North Carolina, the form is provided to interested parties, including the victims, and becomes public record. Mandatory Reporting and Central Database The 2017 panel recommends statutory requirements that a drunk driving arrest must be reported to a central database immediately. If an arrest is not recorded right away, then multiple offenses may not be recognized and adjudicated appropriately. No-Refusal Laws The 2017 panel recommends no-refusal laws that require suspected drunk drivers, especially those involved in fatal crashes, to be tested for drug and alcohol use. These laws allow officers to secure warrants to compel a blood test when a driver refuses to provide one voluntarily. One of the important aspects of no-refusal policies is their high visibility. Police departments promote the policy with significant marketing, so drivers are dissuaded from drinking and driving. Currently, at least 30 states have the legal authority in place to conduct no-refusal initiatives, though not all of these states are actively putting them into practice, and many areas use no-refusal policies during select time periods. State and local jurisdictions often have high-profile, no-refusal weekends during holidays and other periods of high alcohol consumption in order to deter drunk drivers. Lower BAC Threshold 2004 recommendation: At the time, MADD advocated that states consider establishing a .05 percent illegal per se BAC for drivers over the age of 21 who are transporting children under the age of 16 and who have been previously convicted of DUI/DWI or an alcohol-related child endangerment offense. 2017 update: The 2017 Panel is maintaining this recommendation. Although this type of legislation can be difficult to pass, there is a precedence with commercial drivers being held to a lower BAC (.04) level when operating a commercial vehicle. Child Restraint Laws 2004 recommendation: State child passenger restraint and safety laws should be thorough in their coverage and must provide for primary enforcement state statutes. Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to give high priority to enforcement of these laws. Consideration should be given to adding driver’s license point suspensions for violations of child passenger restraint laws. Further consideration should be given to automatic administrative revocation/suspension for drivers who commit a second or subsequent offense of any child passenger safety occupant protection laws.
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