COLUMBIA (WACH) - In a new report Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) says South Carolina is one of the worst states for drunk drivers.
MADD says to break the stateâ??s pattern of unacceptably high rates of drunk driving deaths, the legislature must pass an all-offender ignition interlock bill.
"In 2013, our Senate took a thorough look at what can help keep our citizens safe and came to the right conclusion that Emmaâ??s Law is needed," said Steven Burritt, Program and Fund Development Manager for MADD South Carolina.
"Now we look to our House of Representatives to do its part. The sooner we get this bill passed, the sooner the life-saving impact of ignition interlocks can begin to take effect."
Last year the Senate passed Emmaâ??s Law, a bill that would require people convicted of drunk driving to have an ignition interlock device in their cars.
The bill is named after Emma Longstreet; a six-year-old Lexington girl who was killed in a crash New Years Day 2012 by a Billy Hutto.
Hutto plead guilty to felony driving under the influence causing death and felony driving under the influence causing great bodily injury in August.
According to arrest records this was Huttoâ??s second DUI arrest, his first coming in 2009.
"The report is a blueprint for the elimination of drunk driving. Families in South Carolina deserve to be protected from drunk drivers, and MADD calls on the legislature to fix its ignition interlock law," said MADD National President Jan Withers.
"The way the law is set up it's allowing other people to curtail or slip under the laws to effectively hurt people," said David Longstreet, Emmaâ??s dadSince his daughter's death, David Longstreet has worked tirelessly to have state lawmakers toughen DUI laws in South Carolina.The proposed bill would require the installation of a mini breathalyzer in the car of those convicted of a DUI, requiring tests before and during operation to make sure the driver isn't impaired"About once every 60 days you're car will have to be serviced through a service center throughout the state and that recording will result in a violation," said Sen. Joel Lourie.According to MADD Ignition interlocks result in substantial reductions in drinking and driving deaths.MADD says South Carolina saw DUI deaths increase 16% from 2011 to 2012 (from 309 deaths to 358).Their report shows all stars are not equal and that requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers is the best way to protect the public from drunk drivers.Longstreet feels if this law was in effect before that tragic day, he would still have his daughter by his side."Now we look to our House of Representatives to do its part. The sooner we get this bill passed, the sooner the life-saving impact of ignition interlocks can begin to take effect," concludes Withers