COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement partners will continue a strong emphasis on preventing impaired driving through its Sober or Slammer! DUI enforcement campaign going into the long Labor Day weekend. Labor Day is typically a heavy travel time on the roads as families take in the last trip of summer.
The state has seen encouraging news on the highway safety front going into the second half of the year. Overall, highway deaths have fallen this year compared to 2016. There have been 636 (year to date) compared to 673 last year at this time. Since Memorial Day weekend, there have been 216 traffic fatalities (preliminary number) compared to 284 during the same time period in 2016.
“While we recognize that higher gas prices may keep some people close to home this Labor Day, our troopers and officers will be out in full force working to prevent deaths and collisions on our roadways with a particular enforcement focus on DUI,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith.
In the weeks prior to Labor Day, state and local law enforcement agencies intensify their efforts to send a strong message about drunk driving and reduce DUI-related traffic deaths, which are responsible for 31 percent of highway deaths in the state.
The Sober or Slammer! enforcement and safety education campaign began August 16. The department again used the Highways or Dieways slogan reminding motorists that the “choice is still yours” through television commercials, paid social media, and alternative advertising such as DUI messages on ice boxes and box trucks. The campaign, which originally began in 1988, was also utilized for the Buckle Up, South Carolina messaging in May on both billboards and social media.
“The Highway Patrol needs the public’s help to keep our roads safe,” said Col. Chris Williamson, Commander of the SC Highway Patrol. “Whether traveling locally or for longer trips, never drink and drive; call *HP to report suspected drunk drivers; and avoid distractions behind the wheel.”
The Sober or Slammer! campaign falls under the agency’s Target Zero initiative to end all highway fatalities and is a part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The national effort includes state and local law enforcement agencies across the country. The campaign combines high-visibility enforcement with heightened public awareness through advertising and publicity.
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety includes the Highway Patrol, State Transport Police, Bureau of Protective Services, Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs, Immigration Enforcement Unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Hall of Fame. Our mission is to ensure public safety by protecting and serving the people of South Carolina and its visitors. www.scdps.gov