Planning to hit the road this weekend for a Labor Day getaway or college football game? Look out, because state and local law enforcement will be working with agencies across state lines for Hands Across the Border highway safety events.
The S.C. Department of Public Safety and local agencies are participating in the annual multi-state initiative, which began on Sunday and will last through Friday. Officers will join state and other local agencies from North Carolina and Georgia to target impaired driving, specifically.
Officers are targeting the period because it is the last big event during the summer travel and vacation period, according to Lance Cpl. Judd Jones, a spokesman for the S.C. Highway Patrol. The initiative marks the end of 100 Deadly Days of Summer, which is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day in which fatalities increase.
“We want to finish the summer off on a good note,” Jones said.
The campaign has a history of catching not only impaired drivers, but also drug offenders, fugitives, drivers with outstanding warrants, unlicensed and uninsured drivers and those transporting improperly restrained children, according to Lt. Lewis Blanchard of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re looking for all violations,” Jones said. “Our main concern is driving under the influence. That’s still one of the leading causes of traffic fatalities in South Carolina.”
Around the state, law enforcement will hold media events and safety checkpoints at certain border points. Lawmen will hold a news event and meeting in Augusta on Thursday evening, and a safety checkpoint will begin at 8 p.m. at Exit 17 of Interstate 520 in Aiken County.
Motorists are encouraged to have their driver’s licenses, registration and proof of insurance ready when they enter a checkpoint. Jones said it’s not advisable to try and avoid a checkpoint or make a U-turn before arriving at one.
“Come on through, have your driver’s license, registration and insurance card ready,” he said. “That’s what we’re there for.”
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard.