S.C. Gov. to State Senate: Stop Toying with Drunk Driving Law

February 15, 2008

In a written statement Tuesday, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford reacted to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s refusal to strip harmful amendments from the DUI bill:

“We knew going in that some on this Senate subcommittee wanted a weaker DUI, but we were hopeful that a majority of the full Judiciary Committee was as serious as the House was about creating a tougher law – and unfortunately, that didn’t appear to be the case today,” Sanford said. “Before taking up this bill in the full Senate, I’d again urge Senators to talk to those in their districts who have lost loved ones to a drunk driver to help make real what is almost a daily tragedy in our state. The DUI death rate in our state is deplorable, and the Senate has a real chance to step up and do something about it by taking out this weakening language.”

Trey Gowdy 7th Circuit Solicitor said, “With these weakening amendments, the side of the roadway in South Carolina continues to be the most constitutionally protected area in the state. One can only hope that the roadways themselves will someday be as safe for the motoring public as the side of the roadway is for suspected drunken drivers. I’m disappointed that political compromise even infects issues as serious as public safety.”

A bill to strengthen the state’s DUI laws, H.3496, passed Senate Judiciary after a subcommittee added amendments to:

• Strip a new tiered system of punishment for first offenders, and weaken proposed penalties for refusal to take sobriety tests

• Require additional roadside warnings above and beyond Miranda warnings, making the DUI law the only law in South Carolina where such additional warnings are required.

Source: Office of the Governor of South Carolina

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