From Dec. 13, 2013, through Jan. 1, 2014, an astounding 41 people were killed as a result of 38 fatal motor vehicle crashes in South Carolina. Those figures are enough to make South Carolina Department of Public Safety officials wonder how dangerous the roads would have been without an annual campaign aimed at tamping down vehicular accidents.
Hence, the SCDPS revived on Dec. 11 its holiday season safety program titledSober or Slammer. The agency refers to it as an “enforcement blitz to combat impaired driving and reduce highway fatalities and injuries” that will be in operation until New Year’s Day.
“We made tremendous strides in reducing the number of highway fatalities last year,” SCDPS Director Leroy Smith said. “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.”
Drunk Driving the Center of the Program
Impaired driving is an obvious focus. The SCDPS reports that drunk driving is the leading cause of fatal crashes in the state, accounting for about 40 percent of them.
“Troopers and local law enforcement agencies will conduct public safety checkpoints and [will] intensify enforcement efforts to find and arrest anyone driving while impaired,” the public safety department said in a statement. “The South Carolina Department of Transportation is also continuing its support of the Sober or Slammer campaign. The agency will allow SCDPS to display ‘Statewide DUI Crackdown in Progress’ on its overhead message boards and ‘DUI Crackdown’ on portable message boards along state roadways during campaign weekends.”
Components of the Program
The campaign’s public education component includes two key messages. The first message is to appoint a SANTA, which is a Sober All Night Totally Awesome Designated Driver, before attending parties or functions where alcohol is present. The second point is to call *HP (or *47) upon observing a motorist who seems to be driving while impaired.
“Our Troopers see the tragic consequences of DUI on a daily basis,” South Carolina Highway Patrol Col. Michael Oliver said. “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.”
Fatalities a Key Focus as Well
Road fatality figures are a sobering reminder that even the best of efforts will never stamp out danger. During the first weekend of the campaign, the weekend of Dec. 12-14, five people were killed on South Carolina roads. Two of those fatalities involved a motorcycle. Moreover, as we look at the broader perspective onSCDPS figures, as of Dec. 14, 758 people have died on South Carolina highways, compared to 738 highway deaths during the same time period in 2013.
Sober or Slammer will not rid our roads of all impaired driving, even though it is a laudable and essential campaign. Any sober driver who is a victim of a motor vehicle accident involving an impaired driver knows firsthand that crashes happen despite the best intentions of law enforcement. That victim should also know that contacting one of theCharleston drunk driver attorneys at Pierce, Herns, Sloan & Wilson LLC can help to ensure that he or she is awarded the maximum compensation.
AtPierce, Herns, Sloan & Wilson LLC, the consultation is free. One of the law firm’s Charleston attorneys will analyze the circumstances centered on the accident and will determine at no charge the victim’s legal options.