Officers step up patrols, cab company offers free rides for holiday weekend

Long holiday weekend causes concerns for troopers

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Law enforcement officials around the Grand Strand are stepping up efforts this holiday weekend to ensure the roads you drive are safe. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, the official holiday travel period begins Wednesday at 6 p.m. and runs through Sunday at midnight. This is a 102-hour travel period. Last year, the travel period was only 30 hours and five people died on the highways during that time. According to SCDPS, law enforcement began special holiday enforcement efforts statewide on Wednesday.

The Horry County Sheriff's Office is one agency that is trying to curb drunk driving this holiday weekend.

"What we're hoping is that everybody remembers that it's illegal to drink and drive. It's illegal to be intoxicated on the roadways here in South Carolina and we'll be out enforcing that," Horry County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Jeff Benton said.

As a form of precaution, the Horry County Sheriff's Office will hold several safety checkpoints throughout the weekend.

"We're just asking folks to have a good time, think safe. Call a taxi," Sgt. Benton advised.

The SCDPS said there have been 75 fewer traffic deaths on South Carolina roads this year compared to this time last year.

Diamond Cab, a local taxi cab company's General Manager Joshua Rauzi said the company is hoping to keep that number from going any higher this weekend.

"Anybody who drives themselves to a bar or party and they've had too much to drink they can give their keys to the bartender or the party host."

The cab driver will pick up the intoxicated individual anywhere in Horry County and take them anywhere in Horry County.

"We'll get the keys from the bartender or party host, check to make sure everything's secure that it won't be towed and we'll take them home for free," Rauzi said.

The only catch to Diamond Cab's Safe Ride program is the individual must have their car at the place they're getting picked up from.

"The reason for that is because we don't want them to get back in the car and start driving once they've been drinking," Rauzi said.

Aside from drunk driving, aggressive driving and erratic lane changes are also big issues Highway Patrol will be keeping an eye out for this holiday weekend. Sgt. Benton said law enforcement is trying to prevent problems for drivers, not cause them.

"we don't like to arrest people. It's not fun for us to put people in jail. It's not fun for us to take them away from their families. What is fun for us is to see people come through our safety checkpoints and not be drinking alcohol," Sgt. Benton said.

Anyone in interested in taking a safe ride from Diamond Cab, can reach the company at 843-448-8888.

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