As motorists prepare to celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, the South Carolina Highway Patrol will join local law enforcement in 19 counties statewide for an enforcement push to prevent highway deaths due to drinking and driving.
In the Upstate, Anderson, Greenville, Pickens and Spartanburg counties have been identified as areas where DUI is of special concern to law enforcement.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety, which includes the Highway Patrol, has identified certain counties in the state where impaired driving remains problematic. For six months, law enforcement will hold special enforcement efforts on selected DUI Blitz weekends including:
• March 15-16, 2013
• April 19-20;
• May 24-25;
• June 21-22;
• July 5-6;
• August 9-10.
DUI, speed and no safety belt continue to be the leading factors killing people on South Carolina roadways.
In 2011, about 38 percent of the state’s fatal collisions involved an alcohol-impaired driver. South Carolina received some good news last year from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — NHTSA — that our state had slipped from being tied for number one in the nation to number seven in terms ofhighway fatalities associated with impaired driving.
The state is hoping to build on this good news and is continuing a strong education and enforcement push to keep drunk drivers off the roadway. Radio public service announcements will air leading into these strict enforcement weekends.
The SC Department of Public Safety will use a number of education outreach initiatives, in addition to enforcement, including its Sober or Slammer! campaign, DUI driving simulator, outdoor and alternative media advertising.
Of those agencies reporting last year, there were around 26,000 DUI arrests statewide and3,238 DUI arrests in Troop Three, which includes Anderson, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens and Spartanburg counties.
“That’s good news and bad news,”said Troop Three Capt. MichaelWarren.“I am pleased that we are working together and making great strides in removing drunk drivers off our roadways, but those numbers are still staggering and unacceptable. We need the public’s help to continue turning this trend around. No family should ever have to lose a loved one because of someone’s bad choice to drink and drive.”
Capt. Warren urged motorists not to drink and drive and designate a sober driver – not just on St. Patrick’s Day weekend but all year long. He also encouraged motorists to call *HP if they suspect a drunk driver.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol in Troop 3 will be stepping up enforcement the weekend of March 15-16, 2013, with an emphasis on Pickens County. In 2012, there were 604 DUI arrests made in Pickens and Oconee counties. Drivers can expect to see more troopers on the roadways and public safety checkpoints throughout the weekend.