The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) launched the 2014-2015 Christmas/New Year Sober or Slammer! enforcement blitz today to combat impaired driving and reduce highway fatalities and injuries. SCDPS teamed up with the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, holding the news conference at the Detention Center.
SCDPS, joined by local law enforcement agencies and concerned community members, are encouraging motorists to celebrate the holidays responsibly by designating a driver for seasonal parties and events or face the risk of arrest for DUI. Sober or Slammer! is part of the agency’s overall initiative, known as Target Zero, focusing on the elimination of traffic fatalities in South Carolina. Preliminary figures indicate that 743 people have been killed in traffic crashes this year, compared to 731 killed during the same time period last year.
Troopers and local law enforcement agencies will conduct public safety checkpoints and intensify enforcement efforts to find and arrest anyone driving while impaired. The 2014-2015 Sober or Slammer! enforcement crackdown will begin December 12, 2014 and conclude January 1, 2015. During last year’s Sober or Slammer! campaign period, which was held December 13, 2013 through January 1, 2014, 41 people were killed as a result of 38 fatal crashes statewide.
Drunk driving continues to be the leading cause of fatal crashes in South Carolina, accounting for approximately 40 percent of all fatal crashes.
“We made tremendous strides in reducing the number of highway fatalities last year,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “Unfortunately, motorists are still not heeding the warnings about the dangers of drinking and driving. We want to finish out the year with zero traffic fatalities and removing drunk drivers from our roadways is a major step toward that goal.”
South Carolina’s Sober or Slammer! campaign runs concurrently with the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Sober or Slammer! public education efforts will include a TV spot featuring actual comments from South Carolina citizens giving their reasons for driving drunk. The spot encourages motorists to call *HP (or *47) if they see someone they suspect is driving while impaired.
“Our Troopers see the tragic consequences of DUI on a daily basis,” said South Carolina Highway Patrol Colonel Michael Oliver. “Lives are lost at all times of the day and in all areas of the state due to DUI. Every one of these fatalities was preventable, and this is why we continue to prioritize the identification and apprehension of impaired drivers, both day and night.”
In addition to utilizing *HP, SCDPS reminds motorists there is another live-saving step they can take to stay out of trouble and remain safe – designate a sober driver. At the beginning of December, the agency kicked off its annual designated driver holiday campaign, Be a SANTA! (Sober All Night Totally Awesome Designated Driver). Public service announcements on television and billboards across the state encourage people attending parties or functions where alcohol is present to appoint a SANTA, or designated driver, in their travel groups.
If you or anyone you know have received a DUI, please contact John Bateman, Attorney at Law, in Greenville SC at 844.DUI.ALLY