Hartsville police officers to start issuing computer-printed traffic tickets

Hartsville police officers to start issuing computer-printed traffic tickets

HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - Starting this month, the Hartsville Police Department will use new software and printers to issue electronic tickets.

The new system is a part of a federal statewide mandate to get unsafe drivers off the roads.

"In order to get dangerous drivers off the road, especially commercial motor vehicles, big trucks and things, the states need to submit information to the federal government electronically, so all that information gets pushed through faster," Hartsville Police Lt. Mark Blair said.

In January 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration notified the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles of the MAP-21 Act that requires the state to submit violations electronically and within a certain time frame.

Blair said before the new mandate, it would take weeks or even months before the federal government or employers found out about a truck driver's multiple tickets. However, with the new mandate, it can take just days.

"With the feds requiring the states to report things within five days of ticket issuing and within 10 days of a deposition of a ticket, whether they are found guilty or not guilty, that's going to help the federal government to remove unsafe drivers," Blair said.

Failure to meet the new mandate would cost South Carolina $24 million in federal and state road funding the first year, $48 million the next year and "could possibly impact the state's ability to issue and maintain commercial driver's License."

The new software and printers will eventually be in all 16 police cars. While the electronic tickets are helping the federal government, Hartsville police officers say the new system also makes their job easier.

"I do like the system a little bit better," Lt. Mark Jennings said. "Typing in the information is a lot easier than writing it out on a paper copy and having to keep up with it versus just giving the offender their copy and going on about our day."

In the future, the Hartsville Police Department plans to upgrade the system to hand scanners for faster ticket transactions.

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