To curb distracted driving during this week of Thanksgiving travel, South Carolina Department of Public Safety is conducting a statewide enforcement effort to encourage safe driving.
S.C. Highway Patrol and S.C. Transport Police will conduct a “STOP Texting and Driving” initiative along interstates and main highways including Sumter, Lee, Clarendon, Kershaw, Lexington and Richland counties.
Between 6 p.m. today and midnight on Sunday, officers will speak to motorists at rest areas and welcome centers while troopers use unmarked vehicles to patrol multi-lane highways and drive alongside other vehicles to observe the drivers.
There were 16 highway deaths during the Thanksgiving travel period in 2016, according to a news release from SCDPS.
“Distracted driving is one of the most significant problems we see on our highways now,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “As technology in the vehicle grows, so does the temptation to look away for just a few seconds, which can — and does — have deadly consequences.”
Texting while driving multiplies the chances of an individual being involved in a collision by 23, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
"What many people do not realize is sending one text at 55 miles per hour is equivalent to driving blind the length of a football field,” said SCHP Col. Chris Williamson.
Troopers report that other common violations include failure to wear a seatbelt, speeding and impaired driving.
Motorists are asked to report suspected impaired drivers to local law enforcement or call *HP.
Real-time traffic from highway patrol can be monitored at www.scdps.gov/schp/webcad.asp.