House to vote on increasing punishment for vehicle deaths

Credit: NC DOT

Credit: NC DOT

RALEIGH –  The N.C. House is scheduled to vote today on a measure that would increase the penalties for unintentionally killing someone in a car accident. The bill, Senate Bill 378, creates new category called aggravated misdemeanor death that bumps maximum jail time from the current 150 days to up to one year for those who are repeat offenders.

The new “aggravated” category would apply if the driver has had three or more driving convictions in the past five years. If the driver is under the influence, DUI penalties would take precedence, which in North Carolina means fines, license suspension or revocation and up to three years in jail.

The bill originated in the Senate, sponsored by Sen. Stan Bingham (R-Davidson County) and passing that body 49-1 in April. It was pulled from the House calendar Thursday and instead will be heard in session at noon.