South Carolina’s Struggle With Drunk Driving

Across the country, efforts to prevent drunk driving and to save lives have been promoted via advocacy groups, law enforcement agencies and legislators alike.

In South Carolina, the number of people killed at the hands of drunk drivers has decreased in some areas, but impaired drivers continue to pose significant risks to residents and visitors alike.

South Carolina’s drunk driving fatalities

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, four out of every 10 vehicular fatalities in 2014 resulted from crashes in which alcohol was a stated factor. Fortunately, that 40% dropped to 31% in 2017, only to rise again to 34% in 2016 and go back down to 31% in 2017. In 2018, 28% of all vehicular fatalities statewide occurred in drunk driving accidents.

A similar trend can be seen in Horry County and its neighboring counties. In 2014, a whopping 47% of all accident fatalities in Horry County were attributed to drunk driving crashes. By 2018, one in four vehicular deaths resulted in accidents involving alcohol. Dillon County saw its drunk driving fatalities decline from 43% of all accident deaths in 2014 to 18% in 2018. Marion County reduced alcohol-related accident deaths from one in three to one in 10 during the same five years. In Georgetown County, drunk drivers claimed 57% of all vehicular fatalities in 2014 and 18.8% in 2018.

South Carolina’s drunk driving laws

While the reduction in drunk driving deaths is good, the fact remains that many lives continue to be lost at the hands of negligent, impaired drivers. First offenders in South Carolina may lose the right to drive, spend time in jail and pay fines.

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