Greenville, SC-Next time you’re driving in South Carolina be extra vigilant and keep a watchful eye on the motorists you’re sharing the road with. Why you ask? Well, it appears as though when it comes to drunken driving fatalities, South Carolina is Number One!

Earlier this week, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) revealed that 335 people were killed in drunken driving accidents throughout South Carolina in 2013.

Speaking to Carolina Live, Steven Burritt, Program Director for MADD South Carolina noted that there were 13 less drunk driving fatalities in 2013 than in 2012, but the state rose to the number one because fatal DUI accident account for 44 percent of all fatal accidents. For the nation overall, drunken driving accidents account for 31 percent of traffic fatalities.

Burritt said, “Improvements aren’t being made fast enough, and it’s a shame that we lead the nation in such devastating circumstances,” adding, “It forces us to ask ourselves as a state once again whether we’re doing everything we know we should to drive these numbers down.”

MADD is hoping to eliminate drunken driving accidents through by encouraging changes in the states DUI laws. The advocacy group was behind the campaign to get Emma’s Law passed, which went into effect on October 1st.

Under Emma’s law, drunken drivers, who have a high blood alcohol content, are required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. Although MADD believes Emma’s Law will reduce some drunk driving deaths, they believe the law didn’t go far enough, they would have preferred if ignition interlocks were mandatory for first-offenders regardless of their blood alcohol content.

According to MADD, most first-time DUI offenders have driven drunk at 80 times before they are ever caught and arrested.

Drunk drivers, especially those who cause a tragic accident, will face serious criminal charges. A conviction for a DUI can lead to incarceration, suspension of the offender’s driver’s license and high-dollar fines. On top of those consequences, a DUI conviction in South Carolina will stay on person’s record for years. This can affect a person’s ability to get a good college education and bar them from their pursuing their career of choice.

The best advice we can give you is: Don’t Drink and Drive! But a lot of people will ignore that advice. Drunk drivers are going to be held accountable when they are caught, but they are allowed to present an defense on their behalf. If you get charged with a DUI, you must hire a Greenville DUI attorney immediately. There is so much more at risk than you realize and you need an assertive DUI defense.

A DUI, especially one that involves a fatality, is not a minor charge, it should be taken serious and the person facing these charges should enlist legal counsel without haste. With an effective defense strategy, a South Carolina DUI attorney can help a person minimize the impact a DUI charge can have on their future. You’ve already made one mistake by driving under the influence, don’t make another one by thinking you can take on these charges alone.