Opinion Extra

Editorials from across South Carolina: ignition interlocks, texting while driving, Allendale schools

Ignition interlocks

In 2006, MADD launched its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which focuses on encouraging more widespread use of high-visibility law enforcement as well as technology such as ignition interlocks.

One of the most effective ways to prevent a convicted drunk driver from re-offending is to make sure that he or she will not be able to start his or her vehicle while impaired. The ignition interlock device does just that.

The Traffic Injury Research Foundation USA Inc. has released an extensive report showing use of ignition interlocks in the United States increased by nearly 10,000 in one year. The report concluded that 337,030 ignition interlocks were in use as of Aug. 31, 2016.…

South Carolina law requires ignition interlocks for first-time offenders with a BAC of .15 or greater and for all repeat offenders. MADD will continue to press the state to make changes similar to Oklahoma.

In a state with the country’s deadliest highways, there is reason to seriously consider the change implemented elsewhere.

MADD’s numbers make a strong case, with a March report showing that across the nation, ignition interlocks have stopped 2.3 million drunk-driving attempts from 2006 to 2016.

Times & Democrat


Texting while driving

One frequent comment to our Facebook page concerned the growing problem of drivers texting while driving. Many think this is one of the greatest forms of driver rudeness. We agree.

It’s a violation that occurs frequently, yet is infrequently enforced. Texting behind the wheel and other forms of distracted driving aren’t only rude, they’re dangerous. So is basic driver inattention.

Sadly, there has been a rash of fatal collisions in the region in recent days.… But these tragic collisions do serve as important reminders how precarious the operation of a motor vehicle can be. We think we are in control and most of the time we are. But at the same time, it doesn’t take much for a seemingly mundane activity to end tragically.

What the Kars4Kids survey lacks in scientific credibility, it does raise public awareness. Tailgating, left lane hogging, distracted driving and speeding are not only rude, but also dangerous driving habits that can lead to more serious traffic incidents.

Even something as simple as changing lanes without signaling creates additional hazards for everyone else on the road. We shouldn’t need an informal survey to remind of us about that, but we’re not complaining that it does.

Allendale schools

The term “state of emergency” seems sadly well-suited to describe academic performance at the four schools that comprise the Allendale County School District.

About 80 percent of students in grades 3-8 aren’t working at grade level in English or math. End of course test scores stand at about half the statewide average. Only 3 percent of students score high enough on the ACT to get into good colleges.


Why Allendale schools don’t want the state’s help


So it makes sense for state Superintendent Molly Spearman to take matters into her own hands, as she did this week in announcing a state takeover of the Allendale School District.…

Based on the attendance and comments at a recent Allendale community meeting with Ms. Spearman, the county’s legislative delegation and other state school officials, there should be plenty of parental support for implementing smart, sensible changes.

The district school board, which has had a tense relationship with Ms. Spearman and previous state superintendents, must be willing to cooperate as well.

“Too often it seems education has been about serving the interest of adults rather than the needs of students,” said Ms. Spearman earlier this week.

She’s right.

Allendale has a tragically long history of failing the county’s students. Strong leadership and a sustained focus on students will be needed to turn things around.

Post & Courier