State troopers kick off holiday DUI blitz

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – This weekend, the South Carolina Highway Patrol will kick the holiday DUI blitz. Troopers warn people looking to get jolly over the holidays they'll be out in full force into the new year.

Lance Corporal Sonny Collins with the South Carolina Highway Patrol says troopers report making 1,100 DUI arrests so far this year in Horry County. With all the holidays parties over the next few weeks, Collins says the likelihood of an impaired driver is much higher.

Troopers will target the main highways like Highway 17 Bypass and US 501 and they'll be looking for violators on secondary roads too.

During the next few weeks, state troopers will team up with local police departments. They'll have DUI checkpoints and saturation points, where drivers may notice a big presence of law enforcement in a specific area.

Collins reminds everyone this year it's not just about celebrating the holidays. They expect a lot of college bowl game parties since Carolina and Clemson are both playing in bowl games this season.

For those who will toast to the holidays, Collins says party goers should have a plan before even taking a sip from an alcoholic drink. "If you wait to get to a party, and then try to figure out a way to get home, after you've been drinking, well, the decisions you make will probably not be very good. So go ahead and plan on a taxi cab, plan for a designated driver. Or stay where you're going to go. Don't get on the highways after drinking alcohol."

Other big problem troopers tend to see more of this time of year are speeders and distracted drivers, especially nearby busy malls.

Collins says they'll be targeting those areas like on Hwy 501 near the outlet mall. "A lot of patience is needed as we go forward through these holidays. The roadways are going to be more congested."

Collins says citizens can help the Highway Patrol keep the highways  safe. Anyone who thinks they see someone who appears to be driving drunk, can dial *HP and report it.

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