HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety kicked off its "Sober or Slammer" campaign Tuesday, just before the holidays.
The troopers on our roads believe DUIs are your biggest enemy, especially through the holiday season.
"Our message to you today, is this, plan ahead so your ride home is not with us this holiday season," Lance Corporal S.M. Webb explained.
"If you choose to drink and drive, those of us in uniform will be your bartender - remember: sober or slammer," Captain Jo Nell said.
State troopers and local officers say they've seen so many holiday celebrations turn deadly. They are pleading for you to avoid drinking and driving, or be a designated driver for a friend.
"Last year, around 24,000 people were arrested for DUI in the state of South Carolina - around 3,500 are from right here in the troop five area," Captain Nell said.
Troopers say alcohol-impaired deaths account for over 40 percent of the total highway fatalities in the state.
Whether you're on your way back from a Christmas party or driving from a neighbor's house just two streets away, troopers won't want to hear it.
"I hear many excuses when I pull people over from various violations, but I assure you, there's never an excuse for getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink," Lance Corporal Webb said.
Troopers say there's never an excuse to take a life or your own, and enforcement isn't a trooper's only job.
"We want everybody to be safe, and it's hard on us too, because we're human like anybody else, because we don't want to give that notification, if it's a notification, we want to give good news not bad news," Captain Nell said.
"Too many times we have to accompany the coroner when he knocks on someone's door and delivers the worst news imaginable. We have seen it all, but by far the hardest is seeing the anguish of how a bad decision just took an innocent life just before the holidays," Lance Corporal Webb added.
Not only will there be more troopers and police officers on the roads, there will be more checkpoints
Troopers say now is a good time to get an envelope ready. Inside that envelope should be your insurance and registration information, and of course, have your identification with you.
If you notice a drunk driver, call *HP right away.