MADD: DUI reform needed in South Carolina

  • Friday, January 24, 2014

Mothers Against Drunk Driving recently released its annual Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving: 2014 Report to the Nation which rated states based on five criteria for effectively addressing drunk driving.

MADD awarded South Carolina three out of five stars and finds it to have one of the worst drunk driving records in the nation.

In order for South Carolina to improve its rating, MADD calls on the legislature to break the state’s pattern of unacceptably high rates of drunk driving deaths by passing an all-offender ignition interlock bill coupled with strong enforcement activities. “Reducing drunk driving fatalities in South Carolina begins with requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers,” said MADD National President Jan Withers. “We are hopeful that in 2014, lawmakers will enact Emma’s Law (S 137) expanding the use of ignition interlocks for first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of .12 or greater.”

“In 2013, our Senate took a thorough look at what can help keep our citizens safe and came to the right conclusion, that Emma’s Law is needed,” added Steven Burritt, Program and Fund Development Manager for MADD South Carolina. “Now we look to our House of Representatives to do its part.

“The sooner we get this bill passed, the sooner the life-saving impact of ignition interlocks can begin to take effect.”

Ignition interlocks result in substantial reductions in recidivism and most importantly reduction in deaths. South Carolina is in particular need of reductions in DUI deaths as there was a 16 percent increase from 2011 to 2012 (from 309 deaths to 358).

MADD states in its report that all stars are not equal and that requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers is the best way to protect the public from drunk drivers. “The Report is a blueprint for the elimination of drunk driving. Families in South Carolina deserve to be protected from drunk drivers, and MADD calls on the legislature to fix its ignition interlock law,” added Withers.

The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving report can be found at www.madd.org/reporttothenation2014.

Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, MADD is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. Learn more at www.madd.org or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.

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