Mandatory breathalyzers headed for SC? - FOX Carolina 21

Mandatory breathalyzers headed for SC?

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LAURENS, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Imagine being legally required to carry a breathalyzer in your car or face a fine. It's a law that's about to become a reality in France Sunday.

France will be the first country to ever have this kind of requirement.

Officials hope the devices will make drivers check their blood alcohol level before putting that key into the ignition. It's a regulation that's raising some eyebrows, but also getting some praise.

South Carolina is far from having a law that would require breathalyzers. But with more than 2,000 deaths in the last five years in the state alone, some authorities there say it could be a good idea. They said that a quick breathalyzer test can be eye-opening.

"In my experience people don't realize how intoxicated they are, that's why my advice is if you've been drinking, do not drive," said Captain Ted Richardson of the Laurens County Sheriff's Office.

He said Laurens County is cracking down on drunk drivers now with monthly checkpoints. There was a checkpoint just last weekend.

"We had three DUI arrests that highway patrol was able to make at that checkpoint," said Richardson.

He said despite the warnings people continue to drink and drive, so throwing mandatory breathalyzers into the mix could be a solution.

"If they were mandatory in every vehicle, the roads would be safer, there's no doubt about that," said Richardson.

But some we talked to on the street Friday said it would just be too much government control.

"To say you're going to get fined if you don't have one, but don't even drink?" asked Mike Bass. "There's a fine line there, I just can't agree with."

Some are speculating that if this law dramatically changes the highway deaths in France, other countries and states will take notice and possibly adopt the law. It is important to note, in France, the fine for not having the breathalyzer is small, at $14.

Authorities say summer holidays create the perfect storm for drunk driving. There will be another traffic stop checkpoint in Laurens County July 7.

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