Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Proposed law would send bad drivers back to school

The N.C. State Legislative Building on Jones Street in Raleigh. Source: N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

WILMINGTON — Drivers in the State of North Carolina who have their licenses suspended for accumulating excessive points on their license and a multitude of other infractions could be required to take a driver retraining course if House Bill 863 passes the senate.

The bill, which was originally proposed in April, moved through the House of Representatives and on to the Senate Tuesday.

According to current North Carolina law, “When a license is suspended under the point system provided for herein, the first suspension shall be not for more than 60 days, the second such suspension shall not exceed six months and any subsequent suspension shall not exceed one year.”

The new bill would remove the laws current wording and replace it language calling for an indefinite suspension until the driver completes a driver retraining class – a class that could cost a maximum of $175 dollars. The class may be conducted by the DMV or a third party but regardless of who teaches the class, $25 will go to the DMV, according to the bill.

The course would be a minimum of eight classroom hours and could not be taken remotely.

“The driver retraining course shall teach the driver that poor behavioral choices made behind the wheel often result in unintended consequences and shall help the driver understand the responsibility placed upon each driver to conform his or her behavior and conduct for the benefit of the driver, other drivers, and pedestrians,” the bill states.

The bill does specify that the course would only be required for suspensions due to specific violations, mainly repeated offenses for excessive speeding.

Representative for District 18 Deb Butler was one of 20 representatives who voted in opposition to the proposed bill.

“I  voted against this bill because unless the person whose license has been suspended pays the 175 dollar fee plus a host of other fees totaling hundreds of dollars and takes this class, losing a day of work, they can NEVER get their license back even after enduring the mandated suspension,” Butler wrote in an email. “I think the class is a great idea, but some people really will be unable to afford it and will be unable to get to work to provide for their families. I think we should have given the class free of charge to indigent people.”

What will be taught

  • An examination of the driver’s own behavior in various driving situations to help the driver understand the behavioral driving characteristics that have resulted in the drivers poor driving record.
  • Psychology-based principles or methodologies as they relate to behind-the-wheel driving behavior.
  • An examination of why drivers do or do not choose to obey traffic laws.
  • A review of the four components of human behavior, doing, thinking, feeling, and physiology, and the connection between the concepts of needs and wants to behaviors and the human ability to choose behaviors.
  • A consideration of additional problem driver behaviors including the dangers associated with prescription and over-the-counter drugs, dangers of driving at excessive speeds, danger of right-of-way violations, dangers of distracted driving, dangers of improper passing and following too closely, dangers of aggressive driving, and the dangers of fatigued driving.

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