State legislators would do well to repair a situation in which more than 10,000 drunk driving cases are dismissed each year, according to an analysis by The Charlotte Observer. That's one in every five suspects who gets off free - and that's simply too many cases that are slipping through the cracks.
The Observer found that the charges primarily are dismissed not because of weak evidence but because either police officers or the suspects don't show up for their court dates.
In 2003, there were 554 alcohol-related deaths in traffic accidents in North Carolina alone, according to a recent report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Those deaths would not have occurred if drivers had not chosen to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. State law must be enforced strictly to prevent drivers from thinking they can get away with the crime even if they're caught.
Legislative inaction regarding this problem could send a message that state officials don't care about justice. The General Assembly should crack down strongly on these cases to nix any such ideas.