Tougher DUI law in place today

A new, tougher DUI law took effect today at noon here in the Palmetto State.  The new law is designed to close loopholes that have long been criticized by opponents and to increase penalties on offenders according to their level of intoxication and prior DUI offenses.  The penalties include longer jail time, higher fines, and mandatory counseling.

A suspect refusing to take the breath test will automatically have their driver’s license suspended for six months.  Under the previous law, it would have been suspended for only three months. 

Sid Gauldin of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety says drunk driving continues to be an area of major concern.

“Drunk Driving continues to take a heavy toll in the state.  Although the overall number of traffic fatalities was down in 2008 compared to 2007, the percentage of DUI related deaths did not follow suit.

“Preliminary numbers for 2008 show that about 461 people, or about 50 percent, of the 914 people killed in traffic collisions were involved in DUI related collisions.  In 2007, alcohol-impaired driving resulted in 463 of the 1077 motor vehicle deaths.  That equates to 43 percent.”

All convicted drivers will be required to complete a alcohol and drug treatment program.

For more information click here or call 1-800-DUI-LAWS (1-800-384-5297).