Emma's law pushing for state to crack down on drunk drivers - DatelineCarolina

Supporters want Emma's Law passed to crack down on drunk drivers

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Six year old Emma Longstreet was killed in a car accident by a multiple offense drunk driver New Year's Day 2012 on the way to Church with her family Six year old Emma Longstreet was killed in a car accident by a multiple offense drunk driver New Year's Day 2012 on the way to Church with her family
David Longstreet wears his daughter's Christmas present on his wrist from six days before she died to remind him of why he wants Emma's Law to pass David Longstreet wears his daughter's Christmas present on his wrist from six days before she died to remind him of why he wants Emma's Law to pass

By: Catherine Ramirez

The Longstreet family was on their way to church in Lexington on January 1, 2012 when a car driven by a multiple offense drunk driver slammed into their car. Six year old Emma was killed in the crash.

Emma's father talks about the accident tin this campaign against drunk driving in the Midlands.

David Longstreet is trying to get state legislature to pass Emma's Law. It would force anyone convicted of a first offense DUI who has a .15 or higher blood alcohol content to have an ignition interlock system installed into their car.

The ignition interlock device would require the driver to blow into a mouthpiece before trying to start the car. The car would not start if the BAC was a .02 or higher.

Ignition interlock systems are used in South Carolina for second offense drunk drivers, but David Longstreet is pushing the tougher standards.

"After the accident on New Years Day, and after recovering at home for many weeks, one of my friends that works down at the Capitol thought that it might be of some interest for me to get involved in some legislation that would have possibly prevented and I believe that it would have ultimately prevented Emma from getting killed," says Longstreet.

Emma's Law passed a House subcommittee on March 20, and now it's in the House Judiciary committee.

South Carolina State Representative Rick Quinn is the head of the Judiciary committee, and has an even closer connection to Emma's Law and the Longstreet family.

"The accident occurred in front of my Church in Lexington. So we heard it from inside the Church when it happened, brutal," says Quinn. "I don't know how they're surviving, it's really difficult to perceive the courage that they have, you know it's a daily struggle."

Representative Quinn still feels that Emma's Law will be passed.

"We were struggling to get the three votes necessary to even make them come to the point that they're at today. So, we feel good about it, this is a very positive thing that we're moving forward and hopefully we can make the bill stronger as it goes along," says Quinn.

David Longstreet is staying focused on making Emma's short life mean something for others.

"It's probably going to take the next twenty days, probably going to be after Easter holidays that we're going to have to have this continued push to get it through all the way to a final vote in the full house," said Longstreet.

The Judiciary committee will meet Wednesday or Thursday to discuss Emma's Law.

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