South Carolina is reported to have some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the US. And yet, almost every day there are reports of people being killed because of drunk driving. In some cases, drunk drivers kill other drivers because they get behind the wheel when even though they are not in the right state of mind to drive or they injure and maim pedestrians and nearby civilians. If you were hit by a drunk driver in Greenville, SC and suffered serious injuries or incurred damages, you should speak to a Greenville DUI attorney immediately.
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that that one South Carolina citizen dies every 14 days because of the negligence and irresponsible behavior of a drunk driver. These statistics indicate that South Carolina is consistently ranked at the top when it comes to highway fatalities. A large majority of these fatalities are due to drunk driving. The question is: why is the DUI fatality rate so high in Greenville, SC?
The public has repeatedly asserted that state lawmakers are not doing enough to stop drunk drivers while lawmakers and law enforcement officers give the following reasons for the high rate of fatalities related to DUI:
Understaffing: Both law enforcement and the judiciary claim that they are severely understaffed. The police say that they simply cannot monitor every street because they do not have the manpower. Often law enforcement officers have to deal with other crimes like car accidents (non-alcohol related), thefts, burglaries, domestic violence, drug abuse and so on. This leaves them with little time to patrol the roads. The judiciary states that they also have few judges to undertake all the drunk driving cases. Fortunately, the State is now increasing the number of more police officers and promoting more lawyers to judges.
Huge backlog: Almost every year, there are hundreds of cases of drunk drivers, but because the court system has a big backlog of many other cases, there are delays before the case even goes to trial. This creates an environment of leniency and drivers tend to feel that they can get away with irresponsible driving behavior.
Growing population: The number of police officers in most counties in South Carolina has not shown an increase for the past decade or so, but the population continues to grow. There are more motor vehicles on the road compared to a decade ago, and traffic woes are visible on most highways in South Carolina. More cars, less monitoring.
Drivers continue to drink: Despite harsh penalties in South Carolina against drunk driving, people still continue to drink and drive. This is especially true on special days, events or celebrations. The public is simply not afraid of being caught. Again, the number of drunk drivers arrested on the roads has been the same for the past decade, but because of the lack of law enforcement personnel, many drunk drivers are not being caught. Plus the ignition key lock is only applied when the BAC is greater than 0.16%. The public feels that this should be changed to 0.08%.
Penalties not severe enough: The majority of public feels that the penalties for drunk driving in South Carolina are simply not strict enough. Way too many drunk drivers are let go with a warning or community service. Convictions for drunk driving in South Carolina remain on the low side. Plus, the court process is very long, and some drunk drivers continue to drive on a temporary license. There is a desperate need for harsher penalties. In 2016, South Carolina lawmakers increased the monetary fines and incarceration time for drunk drivers but only time will tell if this is making a difference.
Contact a Greenville DUI Attorney at The Bateman Firm
Drunk driving is never a good idea. But if you have been hurt or injured because of a drunk driver, you need to contact a Greenville DUI attorney immediately. The Bateman Firm has a team of DUI attorneys who have handled numerous DUI cases in Greenville, SC. Our Greenville DUI attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve. Call a Greenville DUI attorney today and find out how they can help you get financial support so that you can deal with the damages that you may have incurred in the form of medical bills, prescription costs, and other damages.