State troopers are encouraging drivers to make a plan now for a safe ride home from celebrations this holiday season as South Carolina Department of Public Safety starts its annual "Sober or Slammer!" Christmas and New Year's campaign this weekend.
With its statewide law enforcement partners, SCDPS is building on the Drink. Drive. Die. message that was introduced for Labor Day to conduct a series of public safety checkpoint events throughout the state during the New Year's holiday period, according to a news release.
On average, according to the release, 300 people die each year on South Carolina roadways as a result of impaired driving. Last year, seven people died during the Christmas holiday travel period between Dec. 22 and Dec. 25.
So far this year, 951 people have died compared to 937 during the same time in 2017.
During the campaign, motorists will see and hear the Drink. Drive. Die. messages through many venues including radio, TV, digital billboards and online advertising to emphasize the serious consequences of driving while under the influence of alcohol.
The advertising campaign runs as a companion to enforcement which will continue through Jan. 1, according to the release.
"Our message this holiday season is just how serious the consequences of driving impaired can be," SCDPS Director Leroy Smith said. "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."
To kick off the campaign, S.C. Highway Patrol community relations officers 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.
Drivers can take the following steps to ensure safe travel:
- 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; and
- Downloading and using ride-share apps such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also doing its part to encourage safe rides and has developed the NHSTA SaferRide app, available for Android and Apple mobile devices.
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 one.nhtsa.gov/link/saferride/.
For more information, visit SCDPS' 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 community relations officer Twitter accounts.
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