Drunk driving is a year-round problem, but the holiday season can provide even more temptation for South Carolina drivers to drink and drive. Victims of drunk driving have legal rights in both the civil and criminal court systems, and it is important to assert these rights, not only so that drunk drivers face the consequences, but so that those affected are adequately compensated. A Columbia car accident attorney can help victims hold drunk drivers accountable for their dangerous conduct.
How Drunk Driving Affects South Carolina Drivers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports South Carolina had a per capita rate of drunk driving deaths more than double the national average in 2012. The national drunk driving fatality rate per 100,000 residents was 3.3, while South Carolina’s was 7.6. Men died at a rate of 5.2 per 100,000 residents across the nation, but 12.3 in South Carolina. Women died at a rate of 1.5 per 100,000 U.S. residents, and 3.2 per 100,000 South Carolina residents. All of these statistics represent a drunk driving death rate in South Carolina that is consistently more than double the national average.
These abstract numbers translate to heartbreaking realities for the families of victims killed by drunk drivers. The State reports that one University of South Carolina student was riding his moped home from an exam when he was struck - and fatally injured - by a drunk driver. Speaking at the driver’s bond hearing, the victim’s mother told the court “He was supposed to be coming home tomorrow. And instead of embracing him at noon, we’ll be burying my baby.” The victim had two older sisters who had also attended USC before him, enjoying the sense of community they found in Columbia. “I sent three children to the University of South Carolina, but I’m only getting two back,” his mother said.
At another bond hearing in Florence, family members of a drunk driving victim told the judge how their lives had been forever changed by the actions of the defendant. According to WPDE, the drunk driver suffered minor injuries, while the victim - who had been driving an SUV - was killed. “Nothing will ever bring him back,” the victim’s daughter told the judge. “I don’t care how many I’m sorrys I get.”
What South Carolina Residents Can Do to Address the Problem of Drunk Driving
Now, more than ever, it is easy for drivers to get a ride exactly when and where they need it. Ride sharing applications such as Lyft and Uber allow drunk drivers to summon a ride in seconds. This only supplements the taxi service and public transportation systems available in many areas. Make the roads safer for everyone by stopping friends or family members from driving drunk. Call a friend, call a taxi, or call an Uber. Have plenty of backup plans for getting home before anyone starts consuming alcohol, in order to reduce the temptation to drink and drive.
Those injured or survivors of those killed in drunk driving accidents may have many different avenues from which to seek compensation, including the driver, the owner of the vehicle and potentially even the establishment that served the impaired motorist prior to the crash. With the advice of a Columbia car accident attorney, injury victims can improve their chances to obtain compensation for injuries.