Forum focuses on safer roads

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GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Dozens of people gathered for a safety forum Thursday evening.

It was hosted by State Senator Karl Allen, (D) District 7, at the Mount Pleasant Community Center in Greenville County.

Community members had the opportunity to meet with members of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, the State Law Enforcement Division, Greenville Police Department, and Highway Patrol.

Participants talked about issues like gun violence, break-ins, reckless driving, and crime watch.

“In Senate District 7, we have had our fair share of accidents whether it be automobile or pedestrian,” Sen. Allen said.

One of the most recent deaths was Takevis Rucker, a 15-year-old who was hit while riding his bike on Old Augusta Road.

“He was riding a bicycle in an area where I rode a bicycle as a child, so that touched my heart to want to make sure that we bring authorities together,” Allen said.

He says this is just one of the many accidents they’re looking into to keep tragedies like that from happening again.

“It appears that there’s lighting in the area, so let’s look at the design, let’s look at enforcement,” Allen said.

Allen invited the state’s Director of Public Safety, Leroy Smith, to attend the meeting. Highway patrol falls under his agency.

“An opportunity to hear what the concerns are, so we can go back and see how we can effectively address these issues,” Smith said.

Smith says his partnerships with local law enforcement is key to helping his department hold people accountable.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s office is also taking their own steps to increase enforcement on the roads.

“They’ve become much more aggressive in some of our problem areas as far as fatalities go with increased patrol, and I know the ticket writing is much higher than it was at this time last year,” said Lt. Mike Decker with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.

He says the goal, “isn’t the fine, it’s to change people’s behavior.”

He hopes that helps decrease the number of deaths on the road.

Smith says the leading causes of traffic fatalities in the state are DUIs, speeding, and people not wearing their seat belt.

This was the fourth annual safety forum.

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