Wilmington DUI Accidents a Primary Threat to Motorists
South Carolina lawmakers have passed Emma's Law, a tough new drunk-driving measure that heads to Gov. Nikki Haley's desk for signature.
Emma Longstreet, a 6-year-old Lexington girl, was killed by a repeat drunk-driving offender in 2012. The new measure will require first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol level of .15 or higher to have an ignition-interlock device installed in their vehicle. Ignition-interlock devices test a driver's blood-alcohol level before a vehicle can be started. North Carolina law already requires the devices for repeat and habitual offenders, as well as those first-time offenders who test .15 BAC or higher. The legal limit for drunk driving in both North and South Carolina is .08.
Meanwhile, Car Insurance Comparison reports South Carolina has the 2nd worst drivers in America while North Carolina has the 7th worst drivers. The ratings are based on a number of factors, including fatality rates, failure to obey violations, drunk driving, traffic tickets and careless driving.
Drunk driving accident lawyers in Wilmington, NC know there is good reason for the continued focus on the risk of drunk driving. Nationwide, one-third of all traffic fatalities involve a drunk driver. Only speed kill as many motorists a year. In 2012, drunk driving resulted in 10,322 fatalities, according to statistics recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That represents a 4.6 percent increase from the 9,865 motorists killed in collisions involving drunk drivers in 2011. North Carolina drunk driving accidents accounted for 460 of the 1,292 traffic fatalities reported that year. In South Carolina, nearly half of all traffic deaths involved a drunk driver, accounting for 405 of 863 traffic fatalities.
Statistics continue to show young drivers ages 16 to 24 face some of the highest risks.
With graduation and the start of summer break just around the corner, it's important to open a dialogue with the young drivers in your family. Those hosting gatherings should also commit to doing so responsibly and may face significant social-host liability if a guest leaves intoxicated and causes a serious or fatal accident, particularly in cases where underage drinking is involved.
In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reports North Carolina has among the strictest dram shop laws in the country. These laws, which vary from state to state, provide for vendor and/or social-host liability when serving alcohol to intoxicated adults or minors. North Carolina law recognizes both social host and vendor (restaurant, bar, carryout, etc.) liability for overservice of either adult or underage drinkers. South Carolina's dram shop measure is much more restrictive and only applies to those who serve alcohol to underage drinkers. The law provides for vendor liability and limited social-host liability in certain cases.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month and the perfect time to talk to the young drivers in your family. Studies continue to show that teens are listening. A recent MADD survey found just 8 percent of teens identified themselves as active drinkers in cases where parents disapproved of teen drinking, compared to nearly half of teens whose parents had a more tolerant view of teenage alcohol consumption.
Help for drunk driving accidents victims in Willmington, NC. Contact the Law Offices of Richard Flexner at 800-FLEXNER to schedule a free consultation.