December 21, 2005
Deadly traffic accidents are down in Aiken County 40 percent. And it could be thanks to a program of teamwork between three South Carolina counties. News 12 is on your side to show you how pooling resources is saving lives.
This is a sight South Carolina law enforcement is trying to erase.
“Our focus is to slow people down and get people driving safely and get DUI’s off the street,” said Chief Lee Wetherington, North Augusta Public Safety.
For the last three years, North Augusta Public Safety has been coordinating an effort between Aiken, Bamberg and Barnwell Counties. They pool their resources to set up saturation teams in deadly driving areas like Interstate 20.
“We’ve focused out there several times this year and we’ve written a lot of tickets out there,” Wetherington said.
At least once a month, sometimes even twice a week, teams of ten patrol cars from different groups set up, a sight is known to catch people’s attention.
“Typically when there’s a patrol everybody slams on breaks,” said Craig Justice, driver.
“Wouldn’t want a ticket,” said Randall Smith, driver.
“That gets around to people and they say ‘Hey this team is liable to be out anywhere and we need to slow down’,” Wetherington said.
And this program is working well in Aiken County. They lead the state in the reduction of deadly traffic accidents. They’re down 40 percent from last year.
In 2004, 47 deadly accidents happened in Aiken County. So far this year, there’s been 22.
It’s a decrease officers are proud of, but still want to go see down.
New Years Eve is always the group’s largest saturation program of the year.