The drastic changes made to South Carolina’s DUI laws seem to be having a positive effect with state officials now geared  to hand down a new punishment to first time offenders. Under Emma’s Law, motorists who are convicted for the first time for driving under the influence with a BAC of over 0.15 percent must install an ignition interlock in the vehicle for 6 months. Second time offenders are required to use the breathalyzer for two years.

A Gadget You do not want Around

The objective of ‘ignition interlocks’ is to transform motorists with DUI convictions into more responsible drivers. The driver breathes into the device, which then automatically locks the engine if the BAC recorded is over .02 percent. According to Greenville South Carolina DUI attorneys, the device was only an option prior to October 1st this year for those convicted of DUI more than once. This allowed them to get back their license sooner.

‘Emma’s Law’ is named after 6-year-old Emma Longstreet from Lexington who died in fatal crash caused by a repeat-offender drunk driver who collided with her family’s minivan on New Year’s Day in 2012. Now every convicted DUI motorist must install, pay for the device with costs around $130 a month per car, and use it without fail.

Saving Lives is Paramount

According to the State Director of the Ignition Interlock Program through the Department of Parole, Probation and Pardons, Ruth Ann Cartwright, it will be mandatory to complete the program in order to attain a South Carolina driver’s license. She said the goal is to invoke behavioral changes in drivers, making them more responsible and most importantly, save lives that could otherwise be at risk on the state’s highways, roads, and side streets.

South Carolina is making Emma’s Law stronger.

750 people are already enrolled in the ignition interlock program in South Carolina. Prior to Emma’s Law, as many as 7,700 motorists were eligible for the program. However, the figure is expected to rise to as many as 10,000 in the next 10 years. The ignition interlock devices are fitted with cameras to ensure that only the driver is the one who uses it.

In other DUI related news, troopers with the South Carolina Highway Patrol reported a head on collision in Greenville County in the early hours of the morning on Augusta Road near the intersection of White Horse Road. The fatal crash resulted in the death of an 82-year-old man, A. V. Justice from Shelby, NC. A 30 year old man, identified as Felipe Domingo from Greenville by the Greenville County Coroner’s Office, was driving a 2000 Ford SUV in the wrong direction in a northbound lane when he collided head on with Justice’s Honda Civic.

Another Illegal Alien Law Breaker?

82 year old Justice died at the scene from blunt force trauma while the drunk driver Felipe Domingo suffered minor injuries and was treated at the hospital. Domingo has been charged with felony DUI with great bodily injury and was cited for not possessing a driving license. Investigations by the Highway Patrol and the Greenville County Coroner’s Office are still continuing.