Data show drunken driving deaths down in SC

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - South Carolina experienced a nearly 6 percent drop in alcohol-impaired driving deaths last year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Alcohol-impaired driving deaths are those involving a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater.

In 2009, South Carolina tied for No. 3 in nation for the percent of traffic fatalities that involved alcohol-impaired driving, dropping from No. 2 in 2008.

The ranking is based on South Carolina's 5.8 percent reduction in the number of alcohol-impaired driving deaths from 400 in 2008 to 377 in 2009, according to a news release. Data show that South Carolina had a 2.9 percent drop in overall traffic fatalities -- from 921 in 2008 to 894 in 2009.

South Carolina is trending to end 2010 with fewer traffic fatalities than 2009.

As of Sept. 14, 550 people died on South Carolina roadways, that's down from 639 deaths during the same time period in 2009.

For more information on highway safety efforts, go to, and

Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.