South Carolina Highway Patrol reinstates aerial traffic monitoring of I-20

By: Kristen Cosby
By: Kristen Cosby

It's a bird...it's a plane...it's the highway patrol?

As News 12's Kristen Cosby reports, if you're driving home from work tonight on I-20, you may want to watch out for the eye in the sky.

When you think of the highway patrol, you usually think of cars, but starting Tuesday a Cessna 210 will be used to catch speeders in Aiken County.

South Carolina Highway Patrol is taking to the skies to catch bad driving on the ground.

"The aircraft, you don't even know it's there," says Lt. Garry Rozier, one of the patrol's pilots.

He'll fly over 1-20 across the state.

It's an important place to monitor: this year, 30 percent of Aiken County's collisions happened there.

The pilots will radio bad driving to troopers waiting on exit ramps.

"Once we tell them they were actually observed from the air then it kind of makes sense to them, the reason they were pulled over," says Sgt. Gil Owens of the highway patrol.

"But maybe a little surprised?" asks News 12's Kristen Cosby.

"A lot surprised," says Sgt. Owens.

South Carolina tried this before in 2000.

They had to stop after a year and a half because of budget cuts.

But with the state leading the nation for fatal traffic accidents in 2005, money was found again.

"It was very effective to us," says Lt. Rozier. "It saved numerous lives that we'll never know."

Consider this your warning.

"Just be careful. You don't ever know. We might be above and watching every bit of driving that you do," Lt. Rozier says.

The highway patrol won't reveal when they'll be in Aiken County or for how long, so it looks like we'll all have to be on our toes.


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