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New Hanover, Brunswick Counties have highest state DWI rate

Here's a sobering notion: Brunswick and New Hanover Counties have the highest number of DWI arrests in the entire state. The Highway Patrol says something needs to be done to stop the drunken driving, and one UNCW student may have the solution. UNCW's student body president Dana Thorpe is working on a proposal to start a late night bus system to cut down on the number of drunk drivers on the road. Thorpe said, "I felt that it was in need for UNCW students and the community. A lot of other universities have them and I think it would be great if we had one here." Thorpe has spent months researching his proposal. He is hoping to team up with Wave transit to start a bus run from downtown Wilmington to heavily populated areas of the city. His proposal calls for the buses to run between 1:30 and 3:30 a.m on the weekends -- the time troopers say is the most dangerous to drive on the roads because of drunken drivers. N.C. Highway Patrol Sgt. J.O. Holmes said, "That's when people get off work. They want to go out, have a good time and that's when we find the most people." Recent statistics show New Hanover and Brunswick Counties have more drunken driving arrests than any other county in the state. Since January more than 1,000 people have been arrested. "We do have the university and a large percentage of our arrests are young people," Holmes said. Holmes says Thorpe's plan is a step in the right direction to reverse the ever increasing number of drunken drivers. He says making people aware of what drunken driving can do is the most important step. "Educating them to be aware of the consequences, whether it's a crash where they could be injured or fatally injured or whether it's an arrest and the consequences that come with that." Under Thorpe's proposal citizens of New Hanover County and UNCW students would be allowed to ride the buses. Thorpe plans to present his idea to city council on Wednesday. Wave transit says it is considering the plan but is waiting for administrators from UNCW to come forward with the request before making any further comments.

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The Bus! Its a great idea and should be funded with the millions this small town collects in DWI. It'll never happen though because the local government needs the $$$ to pay all their judges,lawyers and extra-large police forces. Why not just make Wilmington a dry City or county. Again it would never happen, the govt. infrastructure would collapse and go broke in one year. Instead its better to post the law enforcement outside bars or restaurants just to meet their DWI quota. Yes don't drink and drive!!! Especially in Wilmington

great idea

I think it is a great idea..... I mean since the police stand right outside of bars to see is going to drive away!!!!

this is a good idea....but

this is a good idea....but if this nation really wanted to stop drunk driving they should make it mandatory for ALL cars to have breath-a-lizers in them. Then the police could focus on other crimes....and it would free up our courts as well... as we all know drunk driving is dangerous but it is also a big money maker for the courts, the lawyers this will never happen....are they more concerned about our safety or the money in their pockets.

I would have to say this is

I would have to say this is brilliant! So many other colleges use this and are highly successful in their efforts. It is undeniable that there will be underage drinking, it too big of a problem to even think that it will be solved for good. But with this public transit system, it will keep a portion of drunk drivers off the road because let's face it, a few is better than none. Instead of focusing on why this bus is terrible and who it is providing services for, think about it as keeping drivers under the influence off the road which in return keeps the community safe.

Abuse of the laws

Abuse of the laws is what the topic here is about right? How can we reduce the numbers of people that abuse the laws and create the problems like full courtrooms, traffic accidents, injuries and deaths. I could care less if someone wants to go get stoned or drunk, but they should never be allowed to do it at the expense of others of the communities around us. As a student at UNCW I see this all of the time. One of the primary reasons for the DWI laws to be a problem here are that the consequences for breaking those laws are not stern enough for the offenders to consider them a deterrent in the first place. Education on the college campus is a joke or word of mouth that "somebody got busted last night..." Off and on campus, the consequences should be far greater than they are now, and far more likely to happen when the cases goto court. Cases are still being swept aside because of "who you know" and that just ENABLES the offenders to go out and try to kill innocent people on the roads again. On convictions, confiscate the cars/vehicles, sell them at auction, and then use the funds generated to provide for more salaried enforcement personel. With the rates that are currently being recorded now in the Wilmington and New Hanover County area there should be any problem with adding several officers to each of the police and sheriffs departments. More officers (paid for,not taxed for) would only add to the reduction in crimes like drugs and gang activity due to simply having more officers out on the beat. Where are the pro-active leaders of our community that want to get out there and implement this?

Great Idea

I think the bus idea is a great idea, but I think the bus should come from the schools. At WVU, the University has several buses that work on Friday and Saturday nights. The buses would stop at one major location and then to all the Dorms. In order to ride the bus, students had to show a school ID. I don't think the general public should foot the bill for having the city provide transportation for college students. Sure there are others besides college students out drinking, but the majority of those downtown are college students. The only big issue I see is that since there are two colleges, which would pay for it or provide the buses. I think they can split the costs.

I think we need to give

I think we need to give credit to the Wilmington & Wrightsville Beach Police Departments for arresting a high percentage of violators. Also, compared to other towns, Wilmington is not that spread out, as far as its predominent Bar scene. This makes it easier to corner Drunk Drivers make a lot of arrests. I know there are a lot of drunks in Raleigh on the beltways and various highways, but with 8 lanes and tons of exits, that makes them hard to catch. Wrightsville Beach has one way in and out, and downtown uses Market primarily so we are going to see more arrests. I agree with a lot of the points mentioned, especially tax payer dollars being used to transport drunks, but overall we need to find ways to save lives, and I think this could do it. You could always hold someone's I.D. as they enter the Bus, and hold them accountable for their behavior.


wow.... i think i need a beer or 16 now that i finished reading all the ranting and raving going on. personally when i end up in the downtown area i have a person who is a DESIGNATED DRIVER. isn't that the responsible thing to do?? if that person ends up drinking then we call someone else or get a cab... i like and encourage the idea of a bus!!! it would probably be cheaper for the people riding than a cab and just as efficient. the only downside is that when the bus drops you off at taco bell at 3am to get some food they won't wait for you to take you home!!!

the fact is, underage or of

the fact is, underage or of age people drink, there's not much we can do about it so instead of ignoring it or trying to do the same thing (which obviously isnt helping much) lets just try to do something about it. You can't just turn your head and assume the problem will disappear. But you can do something to help control it. i think this bus is a great idea and, as a college student, will help ease the minds of people knowing they have a ride home.

Too Big...

We have a late night bus system in Greenville, NC. As an ECU student, I'm aware that the majority of those using the bus route are underage--however, you still have to understand that college students will drink, even if you crack down on underage drinking. ECU seems to be more concerned about the safety of the students, rather than things that they can't always control. Our bus is funded by the school, and picks up at the major student housing complexes in Greenville. Since the majority of students live in the same area, it works wonderfully. However, Wilmington is such a big area that it would be almost impossible to have a bus run from downtown to campus and then to "heavily populated areas of the city". The whole city is heavily populated! Growing up there, I realized that it takes at least 30 minutes to get from one side of town to the other--also, there is no common drop-off where students can walk home. More than likely, they will park their car to catch the bus, then have to drive it back home. I think that defeats the purpose...

Bus of drunk fools

I don't really think its fair to any bus driver employed by the city to have to drive a bunch of stupid, possibly puking & incoherent drunks around town at 2 a.m. Who will be responsible for anything bad that happens on that bus? The city will when we get sued. If UNCW thinks this is a good idea let them buy the bus and hire the drivers and security it will take to get the drunks home safely. Better yet do something about why all the youngsters want to get plastered every weekend.


I agree with you on this. Why should the other people that uses the buses and the ones that drives the buses has to deal with these people. It is bad enough to ride the city bus as it is when the drunks and homeless get on the bus. Not just because of the smell they are caring on the bus with them . But also because, Of some of the peoples attitude that they carry. Some people can NOT handle there alcohol and are very verbal and ugly talking (mental abusive.) Why should these drivers have to drive and deal with this type of behavior. I agree If UNCW wants a bus let them buy it, hire a driver and pay that driver and keep the maintenance up on it them selves. This my opinion and 2 cent worth.

Moving a drunk driver from one location to another

If a bus drops a group of drunk people off in a parking lot, and an intoxicated person gets off of the bus and into a parked car with the bus driver watching and drives off then kills someone is the city legally responsible? Is this moving drunk drivers out of the downtown area and just placing them further up the road so they won't have as far to drive? I would love to see statistics from other cities that are doing this...

Another twist on this stat

Just playing the devils advocate here, but maybe we're just better at catching a larger percentage of the drunks. Lets say that the State average for catching drunks is 10% and you infer that if you catch 1000, then there must be 10k out there. Now if your catching 20% of the total number and you get 1000, then the total number of drunks is only 5k, much less drunks, were just catching more of them. Now the flipside of the coin, This is a tourist and college town. Lots of people with more time and less responsibility than us working stiffs, just what do people do with all that time?

You would think it's a bad

You would think it's a bad idea. That's why your an idiot! I didn't read anywhere in the article that they were going to stop arresting underage drinkers or drunk drivers. I simply saw that a UNCW student is attempting to do several things. 1) Provide a great service to UNCW students AND New Hanover County residents. 2) Help some people avoid getting DWIs on their way home (which by the way...that protects others as well because it reduces the number of drunk drivers on the road, thereby reducing the chances that some innocent, sober driver will be injured by the drunk driver. 3) It reduces the parking problem downtown. Also, most people downtown are above 21, which would probably mean that there are as many non-students as students that would use the service. If you would use your brain for a moment, you would realize that it is illegal for bars to serve underage individuals. That being said, I would make the assumption that most of the people who receive DWIs after being downtown are not 18-20 year old UNCW students. Many of them aren't even in school, but the ones who are must be 21 to drink downtown. Not to mention that the earliest most people can graduate college is 22, which would mean that HALF of UNCW is not underage!! I for one am an employed, responsible 30 year old that would welcome the opportunity to ride the bus both directions. I applaud their effort and wish them the best of luck. If it's the cost of operation you're upset about, you can go ahead stop worrying yourself. I would make an educated guess that it would get much more traffic on a Friday or Saturday night than it gets at any other time during current operating hours. I don't hear you complaining about that! Stop all your whining. Some people just like to have fun every now and then! Maybe you can pray for us and before you know it, the late night routes won't be needed!!

Just to clarify,,,

If you were referring to my post I actually agreed that a bus was a good idea, just not on MY dime. As far as your idiotic views that only 21 year old UNCW and CFCC students get DWI's I think you should go to court and watch what goes on in there. Or go to and search the DWI calender. I would say it's about even, underage and above, and like I said before a drunk is a drunk, 3 years difference in age is about the same mentally. Also, I really wonder if you thought before you typed but if you think that there is no underage consumption going on in these Bar's Downtown then your the one without a brain. Either by use of a fake ID or just a passed beer is about all it takes and when half (not all) of the bouncers are students themselves it's not that hard to get in with a stamp saying you are 21. You wrote "If you would use your brain for a moment, you would realize that it is illegal for bars to serve underage individuals" and " most people downtown are above 21" WHAT!!!!! What town are you in? What Planet? Did you use your brain before posting this comment? Third, there is no parking problem downtown. The problem you have is that you can't just park in front of your favorite Bar. Poor Cynic had to walk 4 blocks to blow his hard earned money on a beer. How sad.

drunk UNCW minors

Yeah,this busing idea is great and the NHC taxpayers should foot the bill since it is their county these idiots decided to get drunk in! I think these fools can afford taxi and limo service if they can afford school at UNCW!Let their parents foot their bill.

The assumption is...

that UNCW students are the problem. Do you think it might be possible that a large percentage of those arrested are Hispanic?

Yoyu can read right?

And since you can read you can comprehend what you read right? Then if the story was about how DWI was up and how a UNCW student had an idea that would help his fellow students how did you get the bright idea to turn this around on Hispanics? Sure the hispanic population that drinks and drives is a problem, a big problem, but in all fairness the vast majority, at least around here, are 18 to 30 year olds coming from the beach or downtown. Look it up if you don't believe me. Go to court sometime. Far more Whites than Hispancics and more of those than blacks commit DWI. If you want to talk about Hispanics then why don't you go find a relivant topic.

They're still going to drive

Consider the underlying motivation for cruising and drinking among the young, which is generally not alcoholism, but seeking a mate. (Albeit a temporary mate, in most cases) No one is going to risk mega-dweeb/strike-out status by offerring, "Let's go back to my place - the bus will be along any minute." Remember, too, that most of those DUIs aren't college kids, but adults of all ages. There's no shortage of gray hair in the drunk tank. So let's be honest - it's not a lack of public transportation that causes our outrageously high DWI rate, it's the fact that North Carolina, like the rest of the country, has become a joke when it comes to drunk-driving laws. How about we take a look at generating revenue rather than blowing it on a bus they won't ride? How about we have a $5k fine on first offense DWI, with a license revokation for one year....or until the fine is paid in full?

What a great idea! Having

What a great idea! Having even just one route from downtown back to the college would be a wonderful start.... And think of all the parking problems that would save!

Drunk Driving

This is really a simple answer with a very difficult prodcution. If you want to lower drunk driving you need to increase the penalty. Make it a life changing deal. Sorry, but if it was to happen there would be some people who would really be hit hard. But there has to be some kind of a deterrant. Right now with a good lawyer and deep pockets you can get out with a slap on the wrist. Also you need to have public transportation available. There are many countries in the world who do not have drunk driving issues as we do. Why? Check out the laws. Hard core. Public transportation is provided.. If we could get all the weinies in congress to do what is needed we could have this problem reduced greatly. Ziggy


so why is it a bunch of 18-20 year old UNCW students need rides from downtown at 2AM? Drunk? How is that possible they are underage right? I say crack down on the underage drinking and enforce laws that prohibit the service of alcohol to customers who SEEM to be impared.



I think you got it right..

I think that these students have figured out that it cost 15 bucks to get to and from downtown each night and for three nights a week that can get kind of pricey. If they can sucker WAVE Transit to do it for chump change then that's just all the more beer that can be consumed. They teach economics at UNCW right? Yes, I agree that getting just one drunk off the road is worth it but how much money will the City lose on this student wellfare program? Maybe if they had to buy a year long "DrunkPass" for say $200 bucks to cover gas and puke cleanup then I would say give it a try. And make the pass good for all the time not just late night. A valid point was made to the underage drinking problem but until bars start being held financially responsible and fined major amounts of money or loss of Permits then underage consumption at bars will stay the same. Or let's go back to legal at 18 or 19 years of age. There is really no difference between a drunk driver at 18 than at 21, they are both just a dangerous.


Did the article say most of those arrested were underage? No, I didn't think so. It said "young people," which I interpreted as 21-29. Hooray to the cops for enforcing the laws.

College students are 18-22

College students are 18-22 years of age. Your solution is simple and narrow minded.If providing a bus to get drunk drivers off the road can save lives it should be applauded not scorned.

forget that

If they're gonna go get drunk then they should call a taxi. Taxi drivers need to make a living too.


Why not go to this site and look at the date of births for those awaiting trial for DWI then tell me how enforcing laws about underage drinking is simplistic. The bus should take these kids right to rehab.

What are you confusing this with?

You wrote "Your solution is simple and narrow minded." What solution are you reffering to? I'm confused.