Subcommittee Approves 'Emma's Law'

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A House subcommittee has advanced a bill that would require an ignition interlocking device to be put in cars for DUI offenders.

Rep. Chris Murphy proposed 3 amendments, including one that has raised the minimum BAC from 0.12 to 0.15.

Representatives moved the measure, which is known as "Emma's Law," up to a full committee Thursday for further debate.

The measure is named for Emma Longstreet, who was six-years-old when she was killed by a drunk driver on New Year's Day of 2012. If passed, Emma's Law would require a Breathalyzer Ignition Interlock system be placed in vehicles of certain first-time DUI offenders. It would require the driver to blow into the device, and if a blood alcohol concentration of .12 or higher is detected, the vehicle would be disabled.

During the hearing, representatives heard from David Longstreet, Emma's father, as well as representatives from Mothers Against Drunk Driving of South Carolina (MADD).

Related: Father Urges Lawmakers To Pass Emma's Law

Related: Troopers Call DUI Death An Epidemic

Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins also spoke at the meeting. His grandnephew, Josiah Caden Jekins, was killed three weeks ago in a car crash were a repeat DUI offender was driving. Since that incident, there has been a greater public push for Emma's Law to be passed.

Those in favor of the bill, including the Longstreet and Jenkins families, held a rally on the State House steps after the vote calling for the measure to be approved and signed into law.

South Carolina's record for DUI fatalities is one of the worst in the nation, with 358 deaths caused by drunk drivers in 2012.


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