MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The South Carolina Department of Public Safety launched its “Sober or Slammer” campaign on Friday in an effort to reduce the number of impaired driving accidents.
According to SCDPS, nearly half of all deadly crashes in the state involve an impaired driver. And with nearly 22,000 DUI arrests made last year, the highway patrol will be on high alert to try to lower those numbers.
“We want people to know that it’s a problem, and we want them to know that we’re out doing what we can to try to reduce those numbers,” Master Trooper Brian Lee with South Carolina Highway Patrol said.
The slogan “Sober or Slammer” is more than just a campaign, it’s life or death. Between now and Sept. 6, a heavy presence of highway patrol will be out on the roads looking for anyone who may be driving under the influence.
“We have targeted roads that we know that we have a lot of collisions on, a lot of crashes, so we’re going to try to target those roads, our problem roads, and we’re going to try to be out there so people can see us,” Lee said.
State law prohibits any person from driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content level of .08 percent or higher.
“South Carolina, unfortunately, is one of the worst states in the country for drunk driving,” according to Steven Burritt, the regional executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Data from MADD shows that pre-pandemic, South Carolina had 285 drunken driving deaths, the 10th most in the nation.
“The best thing that can keep us safe tonight from a drunk driver is having the most trained, passionate law enforcement officers out there looking for traffic violations, some of which will be caused because of drunk driving,” Burritt said.
Burritt said he is hopeful the increase in highway patrols and DUI checkpoints will help reduce the number of incidents.
“People just need to make a plan,” he said. “They need to take advantage of all those opportunities, and the consequences right now are going to be even higher if they don’t because DUI arrest can be incredibly costly and disruptive to your life.”
If someone plans to be out drinking, Lee said they should have a designated driver or take advantage of transportation services such as Lyft or Uber.