Sober or Slammer campaign starts with DUI checkpoint

Sober or Slammer campaign starts with DUI checkpoint

FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - There are still a couple of weeks left until Labor Day weekend, but South Carolina Highway Patrol wants drivers to know that doesn't meant they're not already on high alert for impaired driving.

"We got Labor Day coming up, we got the big Darlington Race coming up, people are going to the beach for the last couple of times this year, we want them to see us out in force," said Corporal Paul Morrison, of the FCSO traffic team.

Instead of holding a press conference to announce Labor Day's Sober or Slammer campaign, law enforcement officers actually got on the road to start putting the campaign into action.

South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers and Florence County Sheriff's Office deputies held a DUI checkpoint at Freedom Boulevard in Florence County this morning starting at 10 a.m.

"We have impaired drivers all year long, every day, every hour," South Carolina Highway Patrol Captain Jo Nell said.

They stopped cars and trucks coming through the area, asked for drivers' licenses and registration information, made sure people were wearing seat belts, and looked for any signs drivers could be under the influence.

"People are happy to see us out here because we're not able to get in all of the communities when we're patrolling and when they see us, they're really compliant," Captain Nell said.

During the DUI checkpoint, FCSO said there were 235 cars checked. There were no DUI arrests, but two child restraint violations, one drivers license violation and one driving under suspension violation were issued, FCSO said.

Accident fatalities have increased this year and alcohol is often a factor in the crash, SCHP said.

"Right now we are spiked in our traffic fatalities around the state and also our area," Captain Nell said. "Our area right now, we're 37-plus than last year, so what we're trying to do is make sure our fatality rate keep that down."

The checkpoint lasted 40 minutes because SCHP said that's about how long it takes before word starts getting out on social media. However, that's not necessarily a negative, Corporal Morrison said.

"That also helps our cause because somebody might say, "Hey, there's a road check down the road,'" he said. "And that might keep them from driving impaired and that is our main goal. If we've saved one life today, we've done our job."

Sober or Slammer continues through Labor Day, but Captain Nell said the campaign is just an example of what troopers and all law enforcement officers do year-round.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.