Drunk driving is a dangerous practice and a serious crime. One person’s selfish behavior can endanger the lives of fellow motorists. These drivers blatantly break the law, and if you suspect a fellow driver is intoxicated, you should take immediate steps to protect yourself and the safety of others on the road.

If you see a driver you suspect to be drunk due to their driving behavior, pull over to protect yourself and call the police. If you have been the victim of an accident where you suspect the other driver was drunk, contact the Columbia auto accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm to help you seek compensation for your injuries.

Drunk Driving in South Carolina

Drunk driving is a severe problem in South Carolina and nationwide. State law prohibits operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) above 0.08%.

Despite rigorous enforcement by state and local police, there were 285 DUI-related fatalities in 2019, making up 28.5% of all road fatalities in the state. 73.1% of the drivers in these accidents had a BAC over 0.15%! Altogether, for every 100,000 residents in South Carolina, 5.6 are killed in drunk driving crashes.

While the number of drunk driving crashes have declined over the last decade, thanks in part to the dedicated work of police, there are still too many drunk drivers on the road. 

Signs a Driver May Be Drunk

When driving, watch out for potentially intoxicated motorists, particularly in the evenings and on weekends. Some signs you should watch out for include the following:

  • Difficulty maintaining lane discipline, such as weaving or sudden lane changes.
  • Driving on the sidewalk or shoulder or hugging the centerline of the road.
  • Failure to observe speed limits, either driving too fast or too slow.
  • Inconsistent speed.
  • Failing to stop at traffic signals and stop signs or yielding improperly.
  • Following too close to other vehicles, passing when not allowed, or in a dangerous manner.
  • Near misses with other vehicles or objects or swerving to miss non-existent road obstacles.
  • Excessively loud music, interior lights on, exterior lights off, or windows rolled down at night or in inclement weather.

If you see any of these signs or the driver seems off for some reason, it is best to drive cautiously and contact the authorities rather than shrug off potential danger.

What To Do if You Suspect a Drunk Driver

Identifying a drunk driver allows you to take steps to protect your safety and that of others on the road. If you suspect a drunk driver, follow these steps:

Let Them Pass

Keep a safe distance from the suspected drunk driver and let them pass you. Do not follow them closely, deliberately drive in front of them, or try to stop them alone. The driver may collide with you and not even notice, rather than stop.

Pull Over and Contact the Police

Once it’s safe to do so, pull over on the side of the road, call 911, and tell the operator that you are reporting a drunk driver. Relay as many identifying details about the car as possible, including:

  • The vehicle make, model, and color.
  • The license plate number.
  • Where you saw the driver (mention street names, intersections, or landmarks where possible).
  • What direction was the driver going.
  • The behavior or actions that make you believe the driver is drunk.

The operator may ask you for more details. Stay on the line until they tell you that you can hang up.

If the suspected drunk driver hits you, call 911 to report the crash. Once the police arrive, tell them you suspect the driver is drunk so the police can administer tests to determine BAC level or potential intoxication. While they cannot force the driver to take the tests, South Carolina law mandates that the driver’s license be immediately frozen if the driver refuses the tests.

Call Joye Law Firm if You Were Injured by a Drunk Driver

The aftermath of any car crash can have a devastating impact, but victims of drunk driving accidents often find themselves facing huge medical bills, long recovery times, and even permanent disability from their injuries. You may also deal with pain and suffering from the incident, leading to a loss of enjoyment in your everyday life.

Instead of facing these consequences of other people’s poor decisions alone, call Joye Law Firm for help. Joye Law Firm has extensive experience recovering compensation for victims of drunk driving accidents. We will review the details of your case and fight for you to get the compensation you deserve.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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