Cops Kick Off Traffic Enforcement Blitz over Spring Break - WSPA.com

Cops Kick Off Traffic Enforcement Blitz over Spring Break

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The Greenville County Sheriff's Office kicked off what it's calling a “traffic enforcement blitz” Monday to crack down on seatbelt violations and impaired driving. The Greenville County Sheriff's Office kicked off what it's calling a “traffic enforcement blitz” Monday to crack down on seatbelt violations and impaired driving.

Spring break is here and cops are cracking down. The Greenville County Sheriff's Office kicked off what it's calling a “traffic enforcement blitz.”

Students in Greenville County schools started spring break Monday, which means more inexperienced teen drivers are on the road.

The Sheriff’s Office is watching out for two things in particular during the blitz: seatbelt violations and impaired drivers:

It’s a cause dear to Greenville County mother Marie Lee’s heart.

Her 19-year-old son was named Josh, but all his friends knew the football player by his nickname.

“Josh went by the nickname of 'Cuddles,'” said Lee. “He was given that nickname because everybody said that he was their big cuddly teddy bear."

He wanted to be a preacher someday, but he never graduated high school.

Josh Bryant died in 2010 when he was ejected from a car going more than 100 miles an hour in a 35-zone.

“His seat was on the ground with his seatbelt still latched," said Lee.

His 17-year-old friend was behind the wheel and hit a tree.

Lee remembers begging the first responders on scene for answers.

“They said, ‘Which one is yours?’ And I said, 'The big guy, the big guy.' And they looked at each other and I knew that Josh was gone," said Lee.

This is what the Greenville County Sheriff's Office hopes to prevent with the traffic enforcement blitz, which will continue into the summer.

So far this year, more people have died in wrecks in Greenville County than anywhere else in the state. Twenty-one people have been killed on Greenville County roads this year. That’s up from the 14 who died during the same time period last year.

"They have one life. It's not like they're playing a video game. They do not have a restart button," said Lee.

Lee said the message she hopes drivers take away from her story is it could happen to anyone.

In Anderson, Spartanburg and Greenville counties combined, 64 percent of the people who've died in car wrecks this year were not wearing seatbelts.

Not wearing your seatbelt is a "primary offense" in South Carolina. That means an officer can pull you over and ticket you just because you're not buckled up. A seatbelt violation could set you back $25.

Governor Nikki Haley signed a new law Monday aimed at preventing drunken driving deaths in South Carolina. Emma's Law would require more people convicted of driving drunk to install a locking device that prevents their vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol. The bill is named after 6-year-old Emma Longstreet, who died in 2012 when a repeat-offender drunken driver slammed into her family's minivan on their way to church.

Jenna Troum
Jenna is a general assignment reporter covering Greenville, Pickens and Laurens Counties.
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