Crime & Courts

SC Highway Patrol begins DUI crackdown ‘Sober or Slammer!’

S.C. drivers soon will begin to see more DUI enforcement on the roads as part of an effort aimed at curbing collisions and fatalities as the summer travel season comes to an end.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety partnered with local hospitals, first responders and law enforcement agencies from across the state Thursday to launch its annual Sober or Slammer! campaign. The crackdown on impaired drivers begins Friday and continue through Labor Day.

The increased DUI enforcement will be coupled with S.C. Department of Transportation’s electronic message boards that will display bulletins alerting drivers of DUI crackdowns in progress. The message boards have been used throughout the summer on designated DUI enforcement weekends.

Drivers also will see alternative advertising such as anti-DUI warnings on ice boxes, gas pump handles and box trucks as well as advertisements on television, radio, billboards and social media urging the public to call *HP or *47 to report drunk drivers.

Since Memorial Day, 141 people have been killed on South Carolina roadways in traffic collisions, according to SCDPS. That’s down from the 168 people killed during same time last summer.

As of Aug. 13, 437 people have died this year on highways in South Carolina, compared to 454 highway deaths that occurred in all of 2013. Of the 311 motor vehicle occupants who have died this year, 154 were not wearing seat belts, according to the release.

Last year, law enforcement officers made more than 27,000 DUI arrests, according to the release. The latest DUI statistics show that 348 people died in 2012 as a result of alcohol-related crashes.