Colonel Lancaster Asks for YOUR Help During SOS!
Posted on 18.DEC.09
Good morning. I am Colonel Kenny Lancaster Jr., Commander of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
Five months ago we stood before you at Williams Brice Stadium just before the July 4th holiday, announcing a new means to fight impaired driving in our state. 31 highly trained troopers went to work all across our state that day -- working side by side with fellow troopers and local law enforcement. Since then, our DUI teams have made almost 1,100 arrests for this offense. Troopers statewide have made more than 13,325 arrests this year -- compared to 11,351 during the same period in 2008. In fact, DUI arrests have climbed dramatically since 2005.
Not only are arrests up, but fatalities are down. Fatal crashes have fallen 14 percent this year. During Thanksgiving this year, we saw eight fewer fatalities than last holiday period. We know some of the toughest weeks lie ahead, however. Last week, the Highway Patrol alerted the media to some of the disturbing trends our troopers are seeing on the roadways this holiday season, often resulting from holiday parties.
Some troopers have reported making arrests for DUI sometimes as early as 7 o’clock in the morning -- when we’re transporting our children to school.
Week night DUI arrests are increasing too as people attend holiday parties during the week.
People who may not otherwise drink tend to take more risks at holiday parties this time of year.
The Highway Patrol is pleased to partner with local law enforcement -- now through the end of the holiday season for special enforcement efforts to take impaired drivers -- regardless of who they are -- off our roadways.
What can you do to help us?
People need to be prepared for public safety checkpoints.
They may see more law enforcement on the roadways -- on interstates and secondary roadways. Move Over when you see blue lights and give them room to work.
Please ensure you carry your license, registration and insurance with you and have those ready in case you are stopped.
Ensure you and all your passengers are buckled up;
Be on the lookout for impaired drivers. We need your help:
Call *HPif you see motorists:
· Weaving in and out of lanes
· Making wide or short turns
· Driving slower than other traffic
· Failing to obey traffic signals
And finally, let me emphasize and re-emphasize how important pre-planning is.
We plead with you not to drink and drive. In fact, those we arrest for DUI are the lucky ones.
Many will not make it home or will take another life. Last year, we lost 55 people during the Sober or Slammer (SOS) period (Christmas and New Year’s).
We need you -- the traveling public -- to help us ensure we have a safe and happy holiday season.