New bill to crack down on drunk drivers

Laura Fortenberry

February 8, 2011 8:25:47 PM PST
State lawmakers unveiled "Laura's Law" Tuesday -- named for a 17-year-old girl killed last year.The victim's mother made an emotional plea to pass it, before another life is lost.

"If you've never lost a child, you have no clue the pain that it causes," Michelle Fortenberry said.

Fortenberry's daughter was hit and killed by a repeat drunk driver.

"I promised my daughter after she was gone that I would stand up and fight," she said.

Her emotional plea pushed lawmakers to introduce "Laura's Law" -- a bill that, if passed, will tighten restrictions on repeat offenders.

"Some people are so dangerous that they need to be in jail and these guys who are out there doing it time and time again that's what we have to do," Rep. Tim Moore said.

The driver who hit the Gaston County teen had been arrested for DWI three times before hitting Laura Fortenberry.

"We got to make the roads safer," Michelle Fortenberry said. "You never know when it's going to be your child out there on that road. It could've been a lot of people's kids."

Under the new law, drivers with multiple DWI arrests will spend more time in jail, pay higher court costs and be required to wear alcohol sensor ankle bracelets for more than the current 60-day time period.

"Approaching this in a manner to increase penalty's lock these guys up and not put the state in a bad position fiscally," Moore said.

Lawmakers and Laura's family say they hope the bill will keep drunks off the roads and behind bars.

"I would've never thought it would have been my child, but I'm going to fight and will continue to fight and I am determined," Fortenberry said.

The bill was filed by lawmakers Tuesday afternoon. It still has to get approval from the House, Senate and the governor before becoming law.

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