Federal agency ranks SC worst in the nation for drunk driving

Federal agency ranks SC worst in the nation for drunk driving

MONCKS CORNER, SC (WCSC) - Kelly DeHay, an active member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD, is angry over South Carolina's latest standing from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. DeHay has been part of the fight since her daughter was killed by a drunk driver almost eight years ago.

"It's terribly disappointing, especially because we've gotten so many HEAT grants, DUI grants."

According to the NHTSA, in 2013, 44 percent of all traffic deaths in South Carolina were caused by drunk driving. The national average is 31 percent.

DeHay says harsher penalties and jail time are a must.

"We have excellent laws in place in order to prosecute DUI offenders, but the problem is getting them convicted."

Emma's Law, which took effect last October, requires breathalyzers in the cars of first-time and repeat offenders who have a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher. MADD says it will push for .12 this year.

"We are not going to give up. We're going to keep pushing to get that BAC lowered."

DeHay says, while she's hopeful Emma's Law will improve the state's ranking this year, ultimately the responsibility lies with the individual.

"Be a good person. Be responsible. That's all we ask."

Copyright 2015 WCSC. All rights reserved.