SCDPS kicks off ‘Sober or Slammer’ enhanced enforcement to prevent highway fatalities

7 tips for an effective designated driver
designated driver(tcw-ksla)
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 12:31 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) and law enforcement partners announced Wednesday that troopers and officers will be cracking down on impaired driving during the holiday season with the kickoff of the Sober or Slammer! Holiday campaign.

SCDPS said the campaign will run from December 15 to New Year’s Day in coordination with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign with special enforcement beginning December 17.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported an estimated 20,160 people died nationwide in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of 2021 – up 18.4% over 2020.

On a regional level, including our neighboring Southeastern states, fatalities were up 22% in the first half of the year.

This rise in highway deaths represented the largest six-month increase ever recorded in NHTSA’s fatality reporting system. NHTSA also reported that speeding and failure to buckle up continue at higher levels than pre-pandemic. 

In South Carolina, the top three primary contributing factors in crashes in 2021, according to preliminary statistics, were driving too fast for conditions, a driver under the influence, and failure to yield.

SCDPS Director Robert G. Woods, IV said he hopes that South Carolina motorists and those traveling through our state will notice the number of lives lost in 2021 and be motivated to practice safer driving habits during the holiday season and heading into the new year.

“While the holidays are a time of celebration for most, this season is also a painful time for the more than 1,000 families who have lost loved ones in motor vehicle collisions,” Woods said. “The losses are incalculable for those affected and should motivate all drivers in the state to make safe and defensive driving priority one in keeping their families safe.”

SCHP and local law enforcement agencies will conduct a series of public safety checkpoints throughout the state during the holiday period. The Drink. Drive. Die. messaging will air on radio, social media, YouTube, and television; along with placements on billboards throughout the state.

Below are a few steps to ensure a safe ride home:

  • Designate a sober driver;
  • Use public transportation, such as buses and shuttles;
  • Call a local cab or taxi service, or plan ahead for a taxi. (Some local towing services also offer safe rides home and will tow the driver’s car home for a fee);
  • Download and use ride-share apps such as Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, etc.

For more information, visit the agency’s Facebook page, or the agency’s website.

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