South Carolina residents are understandably frustrated by the state’s broken drunk driving laws, which safety advocates have talked about for a long time. In fact, residents have raised enough fuss that legislators are finally doing something about the problem. After all, no one wants to continue to hear about numerous innocent people being hurt or killed by intoxicated drivers.
Problems With Current DUI Laws
What is wrong with the state’s current laws governing DUI and drivers who have been caught? In a nutshell, two of the basic issues are as follows:
Ignition Interlock Devices Not Always Mandatory
Currently, South Carolina does not require that all DUI offenders have an alcohol ignition interlock device placed into their vehicles. Alcohol ignition interlock devices stop the vehicle from running if the driver shows any signs of intoxication. A mere 0.02 percent blood alcohol content level will cause the vehicle to shut down and stop working. Alcohol ignition interlock devices have been shown to work well in other states, slowing the rate of drunk driving accidents and recidivism. When tried in the state before, the alcohol ignition interlock devices stopped thousands of drivers from getting on the road.
Penalties Not Harsh Enough
Right now, someone who gets a DUI in South Carolina could potentially be out and driving in very little time. This seems unusually lenient, especially given the potential that drunk driving has to take lives in a matter of seconds. The problem is that the accused can get a temporary replacement license a few days later while the case is winding its way through the courts. Moreover, they do not have to have any kind of alcohol ignition interlock device in place. They can simply drive as normal without any penalty until their case outcome is determined.
Opposition to New DUI-Related Law
Although it may seem shocking, not all South Carolina residents are on board with the proposed changes to the law that Gov. McMaster supports. Their opposition mainly stems from concerns related to the expense involved in the alcohol ignition interlock devices themselves.
To be sure, alcohol ignition interlock devices are not inexpensive. Each one can cost up to $150 to install and $130 per month to maintain on each vehicle. However, as car accident lawyers can agree, the cost of saving lives that may have otherwise been lost to DUI offenders is well worth the expense. If an alcohol ignition interlock device saves just one individual, it would pay for itself several times over. Besides, the expense would be covered by the offender as part of the punishment for driving while drunk or otherwise under the influence, not the state, except in cases where monies from the Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole Services would be used.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Fight for Victims of DUI Offenders
As long as people get behind the wheel while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, they need to be held accountable for their actions. The dedicated Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., help injured victims of drunk drivers and deceased victims’ surviving family members obtain the justice they deserve. If you need assistance from an experienced car accident attorney in South Carolina, please call our offices at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 to arrange for your free initial consultation. You can also contact us online.
We represent injured accident victims and their families throughout South Carolina, including those in the communities of Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.