Drunk Driving in South Carolina – the Aftereffects of Emma’s Law

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 28 people die each day due to car accidents as a result of drunk driving. Moreover, as much as one third of all drivers arrested or convicted for drunk driving are repeat offenders. In 2012, Emma Longstreet was tragically killed in a car accident caused by a repeat DUI offender. The car accident occurred on New Year’s Day.

If you or someone you know has been injured or tragically killed in a car accident due to the negligence or recklessness of another, contact a compassionate and aggressive Anderson car accident attorney right away.

Drunk Driving

Under Emma’s Law, which passed on October 1, 2014, individuals convicted of DUI with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .15 or above are required to install an ignition device for six months on any vehicle driven by him or her. Furthermore, those convicted of a DUI with a BAC between .08 and .14 can opt to use the interlock device to obtain the ability to drive without geographic limitations instead of the standard license suspension. In the event of a repeat offense, any driver convicted of DUI with a BAC of .08 or above is required to have an interlock ignition device for a minimum of two years.

According to a Times and Democrat report, the legislation was named after six-year-old Emma. Her grieving parents pushed hard for reform, and were instrumental in changing state law. The legislation expanded the use of interlock-ignition devices on the vehicles of those convicted of DUI offenses. The law was overwhelmingly supported in South Carolina.

The particulars of Emma’s Law does not change any of the other penalties for drinking and driving, including incarceration timeframes and monetary fines.

Post-Emma’s Law

According to a recent study conducted by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), in 2014 there were 685 crashes reported with just over 200 being attributed to drunk driving. In 2015, however, the reported number of fatalities as a result of car accidents is even higher – at 798. Data is not available at the moment as to what number of those crashes can be attributed to drunk driving. Unfortunately, research has shown that the effects of legislation such as Emma’s Law can take from five to 10 years to show. When compared to the national average, the self-reported drunk driving rate in South Carolina is slightly lower at 1.6 percent.

Anderson Car Accident Attorneys

As with any cause-driven law, with time the hope is that Emma’s Law will have a positive and noticeable effect on South Carolina and its drivers. Removing all drunk drivers from the road, however, is a much more difficult task. If you or someone you know has been involved in a crash with a drunk driver in South Carolina, contact a seasoned Anderson car accident attorney right away. The legal professionals at The Law Offices of Steven M Krause PA will help you understand your rights and obligations under state law and advocate aggressively on you or your loved one’s behalf to obtain the compensation you deserve. Call today for your initial case evaluation.


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