South Carolina remains one of the country’s worst states for drunk driving
Senate Bill 18 requires DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. Currently, South Carolina laws only require ignition-interlock devices for repeat offenders and for first-time offenders who are convicted of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of at least 0.15 percent-nearly twice the legal limit.
An ignition-interlock device is installed in a vehicle and drivers must blow into them before the car’s engine will start.
The Senate has passed S.18 with only one no vote and it will now go to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.
“We strongly urge lawmakers to pass this important life-saving legislation because ignition interlocks prevent motorists from making the dangerous mistake of getting behind the wheel impaired again,” said Tiffany Wright, president of AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety. “South Carolina is one of the nation’s worst states for drunk driving and this legislation is about changing behavior and ultimately saving lives.”
Nearly a third of the annual 1,000-plus deaths on S.C. roads are caused by drunk driving. According to 2016 data, only Montana drivers faced a greater risk of dying in a drunk-driving accident than S.C. drivers.
“Motorists who get pulled over for drunk driving have likely driven under the influence many times prior,” added Wright. “The average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before a first arrest – so ignition interlock would be huge in preventing this.”
If this bill passes, South Carolina will become the 33rd state with an ignition-interlock law for first time offenders.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2.1 million member and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
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