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Over a recent St. Patricks Day weekend in South Carolina, state troopers made 135 drunk driving arrests. But many families who have lost their loved ones in drunk driving crashes say that current drunk driving laws in South Carolina are too lax. They also argue that lives could be saved by strengthening laws for ignition interlock devices.


MADD wants to have a bill passed in the state that requires all people convicted of DUI to have an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. This device is a breathalyzer that is part of the ignition system in a vehicle. The driver must blow into the device and not have any alcohol detected on their breath to be able to drive the vehicle.

There is a law on the books in South Carolina called Emma’s Law that requires anyone convicted of DUI with a BAC of .15% or higher to have a device on their car. But a new bill would expand this requirement to all drunk driving convictions, including people with a BAC of .08% or higher.

Since Emma’s Law went into effect in 2014, 1648 starts were prevented by an ignition interlock device in South Carolina through the end of 2016. The law was passed in honor of Emma Longstreet, a six year old girl who was killed by a drunk driver in a New Year’s Eve crash in 2013. 

Our View

Our North Carolina and Virginia personal injury attorneys hope that South Carolina passes tougher DUI laws. It makes sense to us for all convicted drunk drivers to be required to have an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. This device can prevent drunk drivers from hurting people. Plus, the fact that the device must be paid for by the convicted drunk driver can be an incentive for others to drive sober.

When someone is hurt or killed in a South Carolina DUI crash, it is very important to hold the person accountable. While criminal charges are usually filed, some convicted drunk drivers may not even face serious jail time. But what about the victims and families who face huge medical bills,  lost wages, rehab, and possibly even funeral costs if their loved one died?

In South Carolina, it is possible to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the convicted drunk driver. It also is possible to file a lawsuit against a bar, restaurant or other establishment that served the driver, if he or she was noticably intoxicated. Passengers also can be held liable if they participated in or encouraged the driver to drink, as well. This is something to keep in mind if you ever are hurt by a drunk driver, or lose a loved one to an intoxicated driver.


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