There is not a single state in America that does not have problems linked to driving under the influence. Even states that still have dry counties struggle to keep drunk drivers off the road. Even so, in some areas, DWIs may be a more common occurrence than others. According to WCNC, North Carolina ranks in the top 15 worst states in the country for this offense.
An interesting point in the study cited by the news agency is that most of the states with drinking problems are rural. This also includes South Carolina, which took fifth place on the list. One potential reason for this may be less tied to a drinking problem and more related to fewer transportation options. People often have no choice but to drive themselves to and from social gatherings, which may increase the likelihood of them doing so under the influence.
This may cause any reasonable person to ask whether or not North Carolina’s current tactics for tackling DWIs form the right approach. North Carolina has some of the strictest DWI regulations in the region. Among them is the inability to use plea bargains to get out of DWI offenses. The sentences are also fairly tough. Some might argue that the state is better of focusing more of its resources on providing better public transportation options, particularly in less densely populated areas like Burgaw.
The CDC nonetheless speaks out against plea bargains and other loopholes that first-time offenders may use to keep clear records. It says that when states are more lenient and allow these types of bargains to reduce sentencing and eliminate offenses from personal records, it negatively affects deterrence. There may be some truth to this. However, North Carolina may also show that the reverse is often true, i.e., tough laws do not always ensure deterrence either.