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MADD wants DUI legislative changes

The South Carolina division of the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is pushing for legislative action after statistics suggest that the state has a serious problem with impaired drivers. Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ranks South Carolina as number one in the nation in regard to drunk driving fatalities. This is a designation that no one in the state is proud of, and MADD is taking action to make changes in the manner in which law enforcement and the courts view DUI cases.

One of the chief concerns among members of MADD involves the strict guidelines under which suspected drunk drivers are approached at the scene of a traffic stop. Currently, the law requires the interaction between the suspected drunk driver and the officers on the scene to be videotaped. When this standard is not met, achieving a conviction can be difficult.

For example, cases are thrown out of court when the camera is not turned on before the interaction is initiated. Other problems arise when one of the individuals being filmed moves outside of the area being filmed. A legal challenge can even be made when there is no audio recording to accompany the footage.

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers has a great deal of pull among South Carolina legislators, and the group's concern over the recent drunk driving data will be heard and respected among the state's lawmakers. However, there is a chance that additional DUI changes, including a loosening of standards in regard to filming DUI stops, may be postponed until a later legislative session. With the recent addition of ignition interlock legislation, the General Assembly may want to gather some statistics on the impact of that change before moving forward on new legislation.

Source: thetandd.com, "MADD will push but lawmakers likely to wait", Jan. 14, 2015

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