According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the average drunk driver has driven while under the influence of alcohol 80 times before a first arrest. Additionally, on any given day, you share the road with over 2 million drunk drivers who have had three or more prior convictions. This is only part of the reason MADD is pushing to advance Emma’s Law in South Carolina, which would require all repeat and first-time DUI offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .12 or higher to use an ignition interlock system in their vehicles for at least six months. An ignition interlock device is a type of breathalyzer installed in your car that prevents the car from starting if it detects a BAC .02 or higher. Currently, ignition interlocks are only mandatory after the second DUI conviction in South Carolina.
Emma’s Law is named after Emma Longstreet, a six-year-old girl who was killed in an accident caused by a drunk driver in Lexington, South Carolina on New Year’s Day in 2012. MADD representatives are hoping to honor Longstreet by helping to keep drunk drivers off the road with a tougher ignition interlock law. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states ignition interlocks reduce drunk driving by 67%, on average. South Carolina’s percentage of alcohol-related auto accidents has remained among the highest in the nation for several years, with drunk drivers contributing anywhere from 30% to 50% of all fatal auto accidents in South Carolina since 2009. A number of other laws have been passed in an attempt to prevent drunk drivers from getting back on the road, including suspending the licenses of DUI offenders. However, people continue to drive drunk, without a license, breaking more laws and endangering other drivers and their passengers. Emma’s Law would no longer require licenses to be suspended, instead mandating DUI offenders install the ignition interlock device in their vehicles after the first conviction with a .12 BAC or higher. This would allow offenders to drive, but not drive drunk. If Emma’s Law passes, it should be implemented by 2014 and is expected to decrease alcohol-related accidents in South Carolina by as much as 50%. If you or a loved one is injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver in South Carolina, call the knowledgeable attorneys at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers . We can help you get the compensation you deserve.