Families of SC drunk driving victims want to see state DUI laws strengthened

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — David Longstreet said he would like to see more ‘teeth’ added to a state law named after his daughter Emma.

Emma was killed by a drunk driver at the age of six.

He was at the State House Wednesday morning advocating for S.28, along with other family members of drunk driving victims. Mother Against Drunk Driving held a press conference Wednesday.

“It’s so hard to understand why this isn’t getting done. It’s simple, the statistics are there,” Longstreet said.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving said newly released numbers show that in 2019, 285 people died because of drunk driving.

South Carolina ranks in the top 10 states in DUI related deaths they said.

They also added during the press conference that in other states that have passed bills similar to S.28 have seen a decrease in fatalities.

Regional Executive Director Steven Burritt said, “Essentially saying no to Senate Bill 28 is saying that 285 lives a year lost to drunk driving is fine, that being among the worst in the nation is just fine.”

Right now, under Emma’s Law some convicted drivers have to use an ignition interlock devices in their vehicle. This includes repeat offenders or someone that had a BAC over 0.15.

S.28 would require every convicted DUI offender in South Carolina to have an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. It would increase the amount of time the device is in their car based on the number of DUI convictions.

Senator Brad Hutto (D-District 40) said, “I’d like to say it takes good judgement, or good friend, designated driver, good public transportation system, but it looks like none of those have worked over the years. Technology may come to our rescue.”

The bill passed by a vote of 41-1 in the Senate earlier this month.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving said they would like to see the bill passed in the House before the end of this year’s session in mid-May.

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