Mother of DWI victim pushes bill to restrict repeat offenders - WNCT

Mother of DWI victim pushes bill to restrict repeat offenders

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Last year, 413 people were killed by drunk drivers in North Carolina. Now, a bill is making its way through the state legislature with the goal of saving lives – and a Clayton woman says it would have made the difference between life and death for her daughter.

"We are no longer parents, we'll never be grandparents, the holidays are horrible," said Ernie Adkins.

She was waiting for her daughter, Shannon, to come home one night in 2008. But Shannon never made it.

 "I was sitting on the couch waiting and I heard the crash," she said. "When my husband got to the crash site our only child was dead, while the drunk that killed her was laying in the road singing."

Shannon Adkins died instantly, the victim of a driver who was a repeat offender.

 "It makes it worse," she said. "If it had been a stupid teenager who had a bit too much to drink for his first time, I don't think I would be as angry as I am with a grown woman who has had repeated DWIs."

Her heartache and frustration was a reason she went to the legislature Wednesday. She is lobbying for a bill to increase punishments for DWI offenders through ignition interlocks. It's a breathalyzer built into a car.

The engine won't start if you have alcohol in your system. Current state law requires that repeat DWI offenders have them.

But a bi-partisan house bill would require all convicted DWI offenders - including first timers - to drive with ignition interlocks for at least one year at their own expense. House Bill 43 was introduced Jan. 31.

Read House Bill 43 here

Seventeen states have similar ignition interlock laws in place for all offenders. Since passing the law, those states have reduced drunk diving deaths by about 30 percent.

Adkins does not believe warnings stop drunk drivers and save lives.

"She was a good girl. and because of somebody else's choice she's not here anymore," she said.

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