Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Serving Clients in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
When you get behind the wheel of your car to drive home from work, or if you are headed to a beachfront dinner, you should not have to worry about sustaining serious injuries in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver. Yet drunk driving happens more often than most residents of Myrtle Beach or visitors to the area would like to think. To be sure, a recent report from CBS WBTW News 13 noted that the National Highway Safety Committee ranked South Carolina as first in the nation when it comes to fatal accidents caused by drunk drivers.
The CBS report emphasized that many Myrtle Beach residents who are pulled over for driving under the influence (DUI) are not convicted because of something known as the “camera loophole” in the state law. In short, a flaw in the police video recording of a DUI stop can result in an entire case being dismissed. While lawmakers in South Carolina are working to change the law, anyone who gets hurt or loses a loved one in a DUI crash still can file a personal injury lawsuit to seek financial compensation. If another driver’s negligence or bad behavior results in serious injuries to someone else, the injured party deserves to be compensated for losses. An experienced drunk driving accident lawyer in Myrtle Beach can assist with your case today.
Myrtle Beach DUI Laws and Penalties
Despite the fact that the National Highway Safety Committee recently emphasized that more fatal DUI accidents occur in South Carolina than in other states, the penalties are still severe.
How can Myrtle Beach Police Department officers determine whether someone is driving under the influence of alcohol? Under South Carolina law, officers can administer breathalyzer tests along with other methods for determining a driver’s intoxication. In short, if you are 21 years of age or older, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent can result in a DUI charge. Even if a driver has a BAC of at least 0.05 percent but under 0.08 percent, that driver still may be charged with a DUI based on additional supporting evidence.
Depending upon whether a DUI conviction is a first offense or a subsequent offense, a drunk driver can face anywhere from a fine of $400, 48 hours imprisonment, and a suspended license to a fine of $6,300, five years of imprisonment, and a suspended license. However, as a fact sheet from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) points out, “50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license.” As such, even if Myrtle Beach Police Department DUI checkpoints help to take drunk drivers off the roads temporarily, crashes can still happen. If you were involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you should discuss your options for filing a claim with a Myrtle Beach DUI injury attorney.
Learning More About Drunk Driving Statistics in Myrtle Beach
How often do Myrtle Beach residents and visitors sustain serious injuries in drunk driving accidents? A fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes that fatal DUI accidents remain a serious problem in South Carolina and across the country. To be sure, each day, around 28 people suffer fatal injuries in a car crash involving a drunk driver. To put that number another way, one person dies in an alcohol-related collision every 53 minutes in our country. In terms of financial losses, alcohol-impaired drivers are implicated in more than $44 billion in damage every year.
What other facts and figures should you know about drunk driving in Myrtle Beach, SC and across the country? The CDC cites the following facts and figures:
- Drunk driving accounts for more than 30 percent of all traffic fatalities each year;
- Nearly 10,000 people sustained fatal injuries in 2014 in accidents involving an alcohol-impaired driver;
- In 2014, 1,070 children under the age of 15 suffered fatal injuries in auto accidents, and nearly 20 percent of those crashes (or, 209 child injury fatalities) involved a drunk driver;
- About half of all kids under the age of 15 who are killed in traffic collisions involving an alcohol-impaired driver are passengers in the drunk driver’s vehicle;
- More than 1.1 million drivers were arrested for DUIs in 2014, yet that number represents only one percent of the drivers who self-report that they have engaged in drunk driving behavior; and
- Sobriety checkpoints tend to reduce drunk driving crashes, on average, by nearly 10 percent.
Preventing Myrtle Beach Drunk Driving Accidents
If you decide to go to one of the popular bars or pubs on Myrtle Beach known for great nightlife, such as the House of Blues or The Bowery, do not drink and drive. While it is easy to plan a night out in which you do not anticipate having too much to drink, it can be difficult to be certain if you can drive safely. As such, it is always better to avoid driving after you have had any alcoholic drinks and to plan on an alternate mode of transportation if you make any social plans that involve alcohol.
The CDC provides some important safety tips for individuals to prevent drunk driving accidents:
- Designate a person in your social group to act as designated driver before going out to drink alcohol with friends;
- Do not allow your friends to get behind the wheel of a car if they have been drinking;
- If you have been drinking alcohol and drove your vehicle prior to drinking, leave it parked where it is and call for a taxi;
- Offer alcohol-free beverages and water to friends and other guests at any event you host; and
- When you do host a party or gathering that involves drinking alcohol, require your guests to plan for a designated driver beforehand, and do not let your guests leave if they have had too much to drink.
Contact a Myrtle Beach Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a crash involving a drunk driver, an experienced Myrtle Beach car accident attorney can help. Contact the Joye Law Firm today to learn more about our services in the Myrtle Beach area.