SC traffic fatalities increase during 2021; agencies prepare to crack down on NYE drunk driving

Local News

SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Before you get behind the wheel, law enforcement agencies everywhere want you to ask yourself: Am I sober enough to drive? They say one careless act can cost a life.

While New Year’s Eve is a time for celebrations, it is also one of law enforcement’s worse nightmares.

“There’s enough families that may have had to go without a loved one this year or may not have a loved one this year. We don’t want to add another number to it,” said Lt. Shandrell Holcombe with the Wellford Police Department.

According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, 2021 has been one of the deadliest years for traffic fatalities, many of which are a result of impaired or distracted driving.

“One of the most dangerous things you will do every day is just getting inside your vehicle and drive from point A to point B,” said Master Trooper Mitchell Ridgeway with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

Add alcohol to your system and the risk is even higher.

“The biggest thing is, we just want people to use their common sense tonight, plan ahead. If they are going to be going out drinking, just make sure they at least arrange a designated driver or call a friend if they get into a position where they have been drinking and they need to get home, or you know use public transportation,” said Trooper Ridgeway. “There is no excuse in this day in time.” 

The South Carolina Highway Patrol, along with other agencies across the state are urging you to think twice before making a decision that could not only impact your life but others as well.

“We would much rather help you get somewhere safe than to respond to something worse,” said. Lt. Holcombe.

Regardless of the holiday celebrations, leaders from the Wellford Police Department are reminding people that they are always here to help.

“It’s okay to flag us down. You know, hey, I have had a little bit too much to drink, can you guys help me get someone to come pick me up. You are not going to be held for that. You are not going to be charged for that. We will gladly help you get some assistance,” explained Lt. Holcombe.

He said their focus for the new year will remain on the community.

“We are going to try to make this 2022 a better year than 2021. And we are going to try to do it by making sure we help people to get home safe and to make it where they are going safe so that their loved ones and their families can celebrate the year with them.”

Law enforcement across the Upstate will have an increased presence on the roads on New Year’s Eve in an effort to crack down on drunk driving. Their number one message to you is to drive sober or get pulled over.

Officers and troopers all encourage you to plan ahead with a designated driver if you plan to drink. You can also contact driving services like Life or Uber to get home safely.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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