The number of South Carolinians who died in auto accidents involving a drunk driver dropped in 2011.
Drunk driving deaths in South Carolina fell from 353 in 2010 to 315 in 2011. Ours was one of only four states where fatalities involving drunk driving accidents decreased by 30 or more. The others were Texas (-57), New York (-45) and Tennessee (-31).
But even one alcohol-related death is one too many. And innocent people will continue to die as long as impaired motorists continue to climb behind the wheel.
A case in point: a 30-year-old North Charleston man was arrested and charged with felony DUI after a car wreck on I-26 that killed a female passenger. The accident occurred March 9 when the driver ran off the interstate and crashed, according to news reports. Two young children who were also in the car were taken to a hospital for treatment.
Nationwide, 32,367 people lost their lives on America’s roadways in motor vehicle crashes in 2011. About one-third (31 percent) of those deaths – or close to 9,900 – were alcohol-related. This was a decline of 2.5 percent from the preceding year.
Three states had increases of 30 or more deaths: Colorado (+41), Florida (+38) and New Jersey (+33).
An alcohol-impaired-driving fatality is defined as a person killed in a crash involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.
* National Highway Traffic Safety Administration http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811699.pdf
* WBTW-TV 13 News http://www.wbtw.com/story/21635299/sc-mom-dies-son-hurt-in-crash-with-drunk-driver-police-say