COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) and law enforcement partners statewide will conduct stringent enforcement of impaired driving laws as part of its Sober or Slammer! campaign beginning this weekend. Troopers are encouraging drivers to make a plan now for a safe ride home from parties and celebrations this holiday season.
The annual “Sober or Slammer!” Christmas/New Year’s campaign begins December 14, building on the “Drink. Drive. Die.” messaging that was introduced during the Labor Day Sober or Slammer! campaign. SCHP and local law enforcement agencies will also conduct a series of public safety checkpoint events throughout the state during the New Year’s holiday period.
Motorists will see the Drink. Drive. Die. messages through many venues emphasizing the serious consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol. The advertising campaign runs as a companion to enforcement. The enforcement emphasis will run through January 1, 2019.
To kick off the campaign, SCHP Community Relations Officers (CROs) in each of the seven SCHP troops will post videos and information to social media highlighting the variety of options for a safe ride home.
“Our message this holiday season is just how serious the consequences of driving impaired can be,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “If you’re at an event over the holidays – and alcohol is involved— take advantage of ride-share apps, cabs or have a designated driver planned before your event.”
Steps drivers can take to ensure a safe ride home include:
-Designating a sober driver;
– Using public transportation, such as buses and shuttles;
-Calling a local cab or taxi service, or planning ahead for a cab ride home (Many local towing services also offer safe rides home and will tow the driver’s car home for a fee);
-Downloading and using ride-share apps (Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, etc.)
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is also doing its part to encourage safe rides and has developed the NHSTA SaferRide app, available for Android and Apple mobile devices (see below). Users can create a profile in SaferRide and can use the app to call a friend or a local cab service for a ride home. The app can be downloaded at https://one.nhtsa.gov/link/saferride/.
On average, 300 people die each year on South Carolina roadways as a result of impaired driving. Last year, seven people died over the Christmas holiday travel period (December 22-December 25, 2017). So far this year, 951 people have died, compared to 937 this time in 2017.
Sober or Slammer! is a comprehensive DUI enforcement and public education initiative and runs concurrently with the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign conducted by NHTSA.
For more information, visit the agency’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/scdps.pio, or the agency’s website at www.scdps.sc.gov for more links, including a list of SCHP CRO Twitter accounts.