South Carolina tops southeast states in drunk driving deaths

A study drawing from 2017 data, which were the most recent available, shows that South Carolina ranks number two in the nation for drunk driving deaths, second only to Wyoming, and number one in the southeastern region with 6.22 deaths resulting from impaired driving per 100,000 people. The only other state in the Southeast ranked in the top five was Alabama. North Dakota and New Mexico occupied the third and fourth spots, respectively.

There is, however, some good news for those states ranked in the top five for drunk driving deaths: as of 2017, four of the five states, including South Carolina, saw a decrease in drunk driving deaths from the previous year. The only state in the top five not to see a decrease was Wyoming. 

South Carolina requires a minimum two-day jail term for a DUI arrest and is unique among the top five states for drunk driving deaths to impose such a penalty. However, there is insufficient data to conclude whether or not the required jail time has contributed to the year-over-year decrease in drunk driving deaths in the state. 

This data emerges as law enforcement gears up for end-of-the-year celebrations that may involve people getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after indulging in alcohol at a party. A number of factors, including drunk driving, combine to make New Year's Eve one of the deadliest days of the year, according to authorities. 

In response, law enforcement at both the state and local level have increased checkpoints as part of an effort lasting until the end of December to decrease the number of DUI incidents. Therefore, those arrested on DUI charges during the waning days of the year may wish to discuss the matter with an attorney.

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