driving under influence

South Carolina has one of the most serious drunk driving problems of any state, according to a new report released by The Zebra, an online insurance brokerage service.

Almost 30 percent of all fatal car crashes in South Carolina in 2018 were related to drunk driving, according to federal statistics. That stat, coupled with the number of DUI arrests and people who admit to driving after drinking, ranks South Carolina fifth among the states with the most pronounced drunk driving problems.

The Zebra study is not the only such analysis to conclude that drunk drivers are a big problem in South Carolina. Another study by BackgroundChecks.org also ranked South Carolina among the 10 worst states for drunk driving in 2018, according to WECT TV in Wilmington, N.C. Nearly 300 people died in drunk driving accidents in the Palmetto State in 2018.

As drunk driving accident lawyers who handle personal injury cases across South Carolina, we can tell you that far too many South Carolina families experience the loss of loved ones in preventable accidents caused by intoxicated drivers. Every drunk driving accident is avoidable.

South Carolina Accidents Caused by DUI Stats

The two studies cited above use statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), FBI and the U.S. Census.

The top 5 worst states in the Zebra DUI study were:

  1. Montana
  2. South Dakota
  3. North Dakota
  4. Wyoming
  5. South Carolina

The top 10 worst states in the BackgroundChecks.org drunk driving study were:

  1. Wyoming
  2. South Dakota
  3. Montana
  4. North Dakota
  5. Mississippi
  6. New Mexico
  7. North Carolina
  8. South Carolina
  9. Alaska
  10. Wisconsin

Here are some numbers regarding South Carolina from the two studies about drunk driving.

There were 291 fatal car accidents blamed on drunk driving in South Carolina in 2018, 28% of all fatal crashes in the state that year, according to the NHTSA. Fatal DUI accidents represented 31% of all fatal accidents in South Carolina the previous year.

Drunk driving fatalities in South Carolina in 2018 occurred at a rate of 5.7 per 100,000 population.

There were 15,188 DUI arrests in South Carolina in 2018.

Only 1.6% of the population in South Carolina reported having driven drunk in a 2014 CDC survey. The state with the highest percentage of people who admitted driving drunk is North Dakota, where 3.4% said they got behind the wheel intoxicated.

“Despite its lower numbers of arrests and drunk driving prevalence (admitted drunk driving), the deadly rate of drunk driving fatalities earns South Carolina a spot high on the list,” the Zebra study says.

In 2019, the South Carolina Senate approved legislation to expand the state’s ignition interlock device law to require the devices be mandatory for everyone convicted of drunk driving and anyone who refuses to provide a breath sample. The legislation did not become law because the South Carolina House of Representatives did not act on the legislation.

Can You Sue a Drunk Driver for Hitting You in S.C.?

South Carolina’s criminal courts penalize drivers who are convicted of drunk driving with fines, jail time, loss of driving privileges and other requirements. However, those who are injured in drunk driving accidents must often rely on the civil courts to recover compensation for monetary losses caused by a car accident such as medical expenses and loss of income.

Under South Carolina personal injury law, if you have been injured in a drunk driving accident, the intoxicated driver may be compelled by the courts to compensate you for:

  • Medical expenses resulting from the accident, including the cost of future treatments for any lasting injuries.
  • Lost wages during your convalescence and for any future reduction in income or earning potential that the accident caused.
  • Pain and suffering, which includes payment for any reduction in quality of life.
  • Emotional distress resulting from the accident or injuries.

After a drunk driving accident, the injured individual or a loved one should contact a South Carolina lawyer experienced at handling drunk driving injury cases. Our drunk driving accident attorneys at Joye Law Firm can meet with you, review the details of the accident and explain your legal options at no charge.

In many cases, especially after a DUI conviction and injuries caused by the drunk driving accident, a personal injury claim can be settled in negotiations with the drunk driver’s insurance company. The larger the claim, the more likely it is that the insurance company will try to deny the claim or minimize the settlement to the injured person.

Our attorneys at Joye Law Firm can investigate your accident and gather evidence to support your claim and show who was liable for your injuries. We will calculate the full extent of your losses and make a demand to the at-fault driver’s insurer for full and fair compensation to you. If our negotiations with insurers do not succeed, we will be prepared to pursue a DUI lawsuit for the maximum compensation available on your behalf.

Joye Law Firm has been helping injured people in South Carolina for more than 50 years. Our personal injury attorneys are committed to our clients and we are proud of our track record of success.

Contact Our South Carolina Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys

If you’ve been seriously injured in a South Carolina DUI accident, you can count on the drunk driving accident lawyers of Joye Law Firm to show you the respect you deserve and work to recover all of the money you are entitled to.

Call Joye Law Firm at (877) 941-2615 or fill out our free online case evaluation form. We have drunk driving lawyers in North Charleston, ColumbiaClinton and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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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