Mothers Against Drunk Driving South Carolina issued a call to action Jan. 7, 2015, after learning about South Carolina drunk driving figures that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released.
The figures are from 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available, and they are quite sobering. Apparently, South Carolina leads the nation with 44 percent of its traffic deaths being caused by drunk driving. The national average, as MADD points out, is 31 percent.
The alarming percentage of highway fatalities attributable to drunk driving belies the fact that the sheer number of drunk driving-related deaths in South Carolina declined by 13 deaths to 335 from 2012 to 2013. Indeed, overall traffic deaths in South Carolina – drunk driving-related and otherwise – declined 11 percent from 863 in 2012 to 767 to 2013. Nevertheless, it is the percentage of traffic deaths that can be blamed on drunk driving that puts South Carolina in the spotlight.
“Improvements aren’t being made fast enough, and it’s a shame that we lead the nation in such devastating circumstances,” MADD South Carolina Program Director Steven Burritt said. “It forces us to ask ourselves as a state once again whether we’re doing everything we know we should to drive these numbers down. We know the answer is that we’re not.”
MADD’s anti-drunk driving campaign calls for numerous measures, including:
More law enforcement sobriety checkpoints.
Imposition of an ignition interlock device, equipped with a breath measurement box, on the vehicles of convicted drunk drivers. The car will not start if the driver blows an illegal blood alcohol level.
Installation of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, which prevents the car from moving if the technology detects blood alcohol content above the legal limit.
MADD praised the enactment of Emma’s Law in 2014. The law, according to a MADD statement issued after Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill, “expands the punishment for all convicted drunk drivers.” Moreover, “all offenders, including first-time offenders, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater will be mandated to install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they drive for a period of six months. Additionally, first-time offenders with a BAC of .08 to .14 may elect to use an interlock in order to drive with no geographic restrictions in lieu of a license suspension. In the event of a repeat offense, the convicted drunk driver with a BAC of .08 and above will be required to install an ignition interlock device to drive.”
Help for the Victim
We may have a long way to go, as a state, toward eliminating drunk driving. But the victims of a drunk driving accident, as well as the surviving loved ones of those who perished due to a drunk driving accident, do not have far to go for skilled legal representation.
The Charleston drunk driving victim attorneys at Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC represent people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents, including those whose accidents were caused by a drunk driver.
Drunk driving crash victims deserve compensation for their medical expenses, some of which may entail long-term treatment, and for lost wages due to time off of work. Additionally, the victim may be entitled to recover damages that will hold the drunk driver accountable for the life-altering, if not fatal, outcomes.
Going it alone is not advisable. A Charleston drunk driving victim attorney can analyze the circumstances and can explain all of the legal options. You can count on Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC for the representation you need.