COLUMBIA — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed into law Monday a bill requiring more people convicted of driving under the influence to install a device that won’t let their vehicles start if the drivers have been drinking.
The governor enacted what was called “Emma’s Law” quietly but plans a ceremony later to honor the family who fought for the bill for their late daughter, Haley spokesman Doug Mayer said.
The law requires anyone with a first conviction for DUI with a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent or greater to get an ignition interlock device for six months. The device tests a driver’s breath and won’t start if it detects a blood-alcohol level of 0.02 percent or greater.
The lock would go in place for two years for a second conviction with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent, the state’s legal limit. Anyone convicted of a fourth DUI would have to use the device for life.
The bill unanimously passed the House and Senate earlier this month. It is named in honor of Emma Longstreet, a 6-year-old who died after her family’s minivan was crushed by a drunken driver as they drove to church on New Year’s Day 2012. The impaired driver’s blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit. He is serving 10 years in prison.
“Mr. and Mrs. Longstreet put great love and commitment toward honoring Emma and preventing other families from enduring the pain they have had to experience,” Haley said in a statement after signing the bill. “I am proud to sign this bill and hope this brings peace to the Longstreet family while protecting citizens in South Carolina.”