CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Public Safety has kicked off the enforcement component of the Christmas and New Year's Sober or Slammer campaign to combat impaired driving and reduce highway fatalities and injuries.
The DUI enforcement period will continue through New Year's Day.
Troopers and local law enforcement agencies will conduct public safety checkpoints and intensify enforcement efforts to find and arrest anyone driving while impaired.
"We must all work together to lower highway fatalities in our state and reach our goal of Target Zero. Law enforcement is working to end drunk driving fatalities through enforcement and education," SCDPS Director Leroy Smith said. "But there is a third component that is critical to ending impaired driving deaths – you. We depend on every driver to make the right decisions. That could mean designating a sober driver or calling *HP to report suspected drunk drivers."
Preliminary figures show that, as of Dec. 15, 921 people have been killed in traffic crashes this year, compared to 975 killed during the same time period last year.
In 2016, eight people were killed on South Carolina roadways over the Christmas holiday travel period. According to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 331 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the state during 2016.
Sober or Slammer public education efforts include a TV spot, revisiting the agency's classic "Highways or Dieways" campaign, as well as outdoor advertising and paid social media. Paid Facebook ads include the TV spot and a graphic emphasizing the consequences of DUI by showing a family member who is missing as a result of drunk driving.
"The South Carolina Highway Patrol is encouraging motorists to realize that the decision to drive after drinking has consequences that could not only affect themselves, but their families and other drivers on the road," Col. Chris Williamson said.
"Over 900 times [this year] we had to go to somebody's house and ring that doorbell and tell them their loved one is not coming home," Sgt. Beres said "When I pull up to somebody's house, I always look at my watch and I tell myself in three minutes I'm going to walk up to that front door and these people will never, ever be the same."
South Carolina's Sober or Slammer campaign runs concurrently with the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign conducted by NHTSA.
For more information on the Sober or Slammer! campaign, visit the website at www.scsoberorslammer.com.