EVALUATION OF THE NORTH CAROLINA HABITUAL OFFENDER LAW

The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of legislation passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1969 to deal with the traffic habitual offender (HO). Under the legislation persons accumulating within a seven-year period since June 19, 1969, as many as 12 moving violations that would result in license suspension or revocation or three major violations would be identified as eligible for HO status and referred by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to the court for action. The court may confirm the person as an HO, dismiss the case, or return the materials to DMV because the court was not able to locate the driver. The court may also fail to take any action so that the case remains pending. The North Carolina driver history file was searched in 1975 to identify drivers who since the inception of the HO legislation had been referred by DMV to court as being eligible for HO status. There were 6987 such drivers located, representing 0.19 percent of the total licensed population. This group of drivers provided the basis for this study. Among this group of drivers, 98 percent of them were eligible for HO status because of the three major violations as contrasted with only two percent because of 12 moving violations. On the basis of the HO's subsequent driving records and our conversations with personnel processing HO cases, it appears that alcohol may play a major role in the driving problems of the HO's. Because some district attorneys tend not to prosecute HO cases, there was an opportunity to use the Pending cases as a control with which to compare those cases in which the court had acted. When the length of time elapsed since HO referral or HO court action was controlled, no consistent significant differences were found between Pending cases and cases acted upon by the court on the basis of subsequent driver record. While the cost data are not complete, the total lack of evidence for a beneficial effect of the HO statute suggests that the time and effort being expended on this program might better be redirected to other driver improvement activities.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Sponsored by Public Systems, Incorporated, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    Highway Safety Research Center
    Chapel Hill, NC  USA  27599
  • Authors:
    • Li, L K
    • Waller, P F
  • Publication Date: 1976-4

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 117 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00139989
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Highway Safety Research Institute
  • Contract Numbers: DOT-HS-4-00970
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 6 1976 12:00AM