Watch: Combating DUI’s in SC
Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that drivers under the influence claim more than 10,000 lives each year.
In recent years South Carolina has consistently ranked as one of the worst states when it comes to drunk driving deaths.
Joshua Peake’s father, Dewitt Peake, was struck and killed by a drunk driver on his way to work in January 2013 less than two miles from their home.
Peake tells ABC Columbia, “The man that hit him was turning into his driveway and when he did he turned in front of my dad and when he did the impact killed him.”
According to Steven Burritt, stories like these have be come all too familiar during his time working at Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Burritt explains, “South Carolina for the last year we have good numbers we were ranked worst in the nation for drunk driving with 335 drunk driving deaths. To put that in perspective that is the 7th most number of deaths in the country and we’re 24th in population.”
He says that the recent arrests of public figures for driving under the influence are sending the wrong message.
“These people should know better, there should be even more expected of them. The fact that anyone at this point in time, knowing what drunk driving can cause, can come to any decision that it’s worth the risk is just unbelievable,”says Burritt.
Local law enforcement are aware of the state’s less than desirable numbers and are doing everything in their power to make improvements.
Trooper David Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol says,”We have the target zero team, we have the *47 option that motorists can call us and report drunk drivers and every trooper that puts the uniform on come to work every day knowing they could potentially save a life by getting that drunk driver off the road.”
Highway Patrol will have extra patrols out over the holiday weekend and at different times during the summer as travelers hit the road.