Emma's Law Heads Governor Haley's Desk - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Emma's Law Heads to Governor Haley's Desk

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Members of the Longstreet family and supporters celebrate lawmakers passing Emma's Law. Members of the Longstreet family and supporters celebrate lawmakers passing Emma's Law.
WSPA STAFF (COLUMBIA, S.C.) -

A bill aimed at preventing more drunken driving deaths in South Carolina is heading to the governor's desk. It has taken two years to get this bill passed.

"I think it's one of the most important pieces of legislature we will pass this year. We get very few opportunities in this body to cast a vote that we know will save lives. Today was one of those precious days," said Senator Joel Lourie, sponsor of the bill.

The Senate voted 40-0 on Wednesday to agree to the House's amendments, requiring more people convicted of drunken driving to install a locking device that prevents their vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol.

The bill is named after 6-year-old Emma Longstreet, who died on New Year's Day 2012 when a repeat-offender drunken driver struck her family's minivan while they were on their way to church.

The Longstreet family has been advocating and working hard with supporters to pass this bill.

Under the bill, the first conviction for driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or greater would put an ignition interlock on a vehicle for six months. A second conviction at 0.08 percent would keep it on for two years.

The bill will land on the Governor's desk next week. If Governor Nikki Haley signs the bill, South Carolina will become the 36th state to have this law.

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