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Is South Carolina doing enough to prevent drinking and driving?

Approximately 35 years ago, a devastated mother created an extremely successful grassroots advocacy group called Mothers Against Drunk Driving. In order to mark its 35th anniversary this year, the group created a new national slogan that reads, "No More Victims." The group has also published statistics on each state's drunk driving fatality rate.

Unfortunately, South Carolina ranks the highest out of all other states in drunk driving fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2013 statistics show that 335 people died in DUI-related traffic crashes that year.

Armed with figures that point to South Carolina's serious DUI problem, MADD is advocating for more severe DUI punishments in our state. The South Carolina Program Director for MADD says state legislators are not moving quickly enough to make a difference. The director said it is shameful that South Carolina is leading the nation in DUI fatalities and it begs the question as to whether we are doing enough. According to the MADD program director, we are not.

MADD says that more sobriety checkpoints are needed to bring more visibility to law enforcement officers at work. The organization also wants all drivers convicted of DUI to use ignition interlock devices among other changes to stiffen the law and consequences associated with drunk driving.

South Carolina parents can also get involved by teaching their children about the dangers of drunk driving and discouraging their teenage children from engaging in underage drinking and driving. Considering the stiff criminal consequences of an underage drinking and driving conviction, South Carolina parents will likely find it easy to get on board with this kind of parental involvement. One would hope that parents will also find it easy to avoid drinking and driving themselves.

Source: thetandd.com, "MADD will push but lawmakers likely to wait" accessed Jan. 16, 2015

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