With statewide fatalities on the rise, the South Carolina Highway Patrol is taking efforts to be more aggressive this year.

At a news conference Wednesday morning in front of the University of South Carolina’s Bluffton campus, Troop 6 command staff presented 2007 statistics regarding fatalities in Beaufort and Jasper counties.

Unlike the rest of the state, troopers in this area have seen a decrease in fatal collisions in both counties. Still, they want to do more and discussed how the Highway Patrol plans to be more aggressive this year.

Capt. Jim Woods, who commands Troop 6, said the state agency would partner with local law enforcement to aggressively pursue drivers who aren’t wearing seat belts and who are speeding, failing to yield or driving under the influence.

Speeding and inattention are the primary causes of wrecks, Woods said.

Troopers also plan to be more proactive by speaking to students in local schools and colleges.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Island Packet