The most common cause of death for people between the ages of five and 24 is car crashes, and a large percentage of accidents are caused by impaired driving. Drunk driving is a serious problem across the entire country, but some states have a bigger issue than others when it comes to DUI deaths. Unfortunately, a report from the security company SafeWise found that South Carolina has the second highest rate of DUI deaths per capita.
It’s important for everyone to be aware of the dangers of impaired driving. Hundreds of people are injured or killed in drunk driving crashes every year in South Carolina. In case you ever are involved in a DUI-related accident, you should know what steps to take to stay safe and get the compensation you deserve.
South Carolina DUI Statistics
On the list, South Carolina is followed by North Dakota, which had 6.08 deaths per 100,000 people due to impaired driving. Fourth on the list is New Mexico with a rate of 5.74, and fifth is Alabama with a rate of 5.49. All of these states have a smaller population than South Carolina, though, so South Carolina leads with the largest total number of deaths.
In 2016, South Carolina ranked sixth for the rate of DUI deaths per capita. According to a report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), there were 331 impaired driving deaths in South Carolina in 2016. In just one year, the state moved up to second place.
SafeWise’s data, which comes from 2017, shows that there are 6.22 impaired driving deaths per 100,000 people in the Palmetto State. The only state with a higher DUI death rate is Wyoming, which had 7.59 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017. Wyoming only has a population of about 600,000 people, so South Carolina experienced a far greater number of drunk driving deaths.
However, despite the increase in ranking, the problem may be improving. According to the SafeWise report, South Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, and Alabama all decreased their drunk driving death rates in 2017. Wyoming was the only state in the top five that saw an increase in DUI-related deaths. Like most other states, South Carolina’s DUI death rate went down, but it didn’t decrease as much as the other states, so its ranking went up.
The difference in death rate between the highest and lowest ranking states on the list is alarming. South Carolina ranks second with a DUI-related death rate of 6.22 per 100,000 people. The state with the fewest drunk driving deaths per capita is New Jersey, which only has a rate of 1.38 deaths per 100,000 people.
The other states with the fewest impaired driving deaths include the following:
- New York
- New Hampshire
- Washington, D.C.
All of these states have fewer than 2.5 drunk driving deaths per 100,000 people, which proves that it is possible to combat drunk driving. The numbers aren’t in yet for the past year, but hopefully South Carolina DUI statistics for 2018 will be more optimistic.
DUI Penalties in South Carolina
The consequences for driving under the influence in South Carolina are bleak. Unlike the other states with the highest DUI death rates, South Carolina mandates a minimum of two days in jail for a first offense. A blood alcohol content of .10 to .16 percent will result in at least three days of jail time, and a BAC of .16 or greater carries a minimum sentence of 30 days. Fines can range from $400 to over $1,000 for a first offense.
Second and third offenses result in even harsher penalties. Fines can add up to several thousand dollars, and offenders may be sentenced to several months to several years in jail. A DUI can also result in the offender’s license being suspended for multiple years or even for life.
The only way to avoid these penalties is to avoid drunk driving. Groups like MADD provide free or inexpensive rides home if you’re impaired, and rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft are now available in most areas. Finding a ride home when you’re impaired might be inconvenient, but it’s much easier than facing a DUI charge and risking hurting yourself or someone else in a crash.
How to Stay Safe
You can protect yourself and others by never driving impaired and never getting in a car with a driver who may be impaired. Unfortunately, though, it’s impossible to control the actions of other drivers on the road. The best thing you can do is be vigilant and look for signs of drunk driving.
The following are some of the most common indicators of impaired driving:
- Driving in the middle of the road
- Taking wide turns
- Driving too slowly or quickly
- Accelerating or decelerating suddenly
In South Carolina, you can dial *47 to report a drunk driver. Even if you’re not sure whether a driver is impaired, calling *47 or 911 could save your life, the driver’s life, or the life of another passenger or pedestrian. Be prepared to tell the operator the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle. However, you should keep a safe distance from the car to avoid a crash.
What to Do If You’re Involved in a Crash
If you were in a car accident caused by an impaired driver, you should call the police immediately and collect as much evidence as possible. This includes pictures of the crash and your injuries, information from witnesses, and insurance and contact information of the at-fault driver. The more evidence you have, the more your Charleston DUI injury attorney will be able to help you.
You should also seek medical treatment right away. Even if you don’t think you have any serious injuries, car accidents can cause medical problems that don’t appear until hours or days later. A medical professional is the only person who can tell whether you have any serious injuries from the crash. While seeking treatment, you should get as much documentation from your doctor as possible, so you and your DUI attorney can get the maximum amount of compensation.
One of the most common concerns after being in an impaired driving accident is whether or not to hire a personal injury lawyer near me. Even if the crash didn’t cause serious damage, you should consult with an attorney about your options for pursuing compensation.
You should speak to a personal injury lawyer who specializes in DUI injuries before you contact your insurance company. Search for a DUI accident attorney near me to help with the legal process following an impaired driving accident. Your personal injury attorney will investigate the accident, collect evidence, and help you get as much compensation as possible for vehicle damage, medical bills, and any pain and suffering that resulted from the accident.
Charleston DUI Injury Attorney
If you live in the Charleston, South Carolina area and are looking for a DUI injury lawyer, you can contact the Hartman Law Firm, LLC for help. Frank Hartman is a Charleston DUI accident lawyer and has extensive experience with clients who have been injured as a result of impaired driving.
Being involved in a drunk driving accident is a stressful and overwhelming experience. By hiring a DUI attorney, you’ll reduce the pressure on yourself to handle the legal and insurance situations, so you can focus on recovering from the accident.
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South Carolina DUI statistics 2018
South Carolina DUI statistics 2019