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SC Highway Patrol increases presence in Richland, Saluda counties

Published: Oct. 10, 2021 at 7:19 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The SC Highway Patrol is teaming with the State Transport Police and local agencies to increase law enforcement presence in Richland and Saluda counties starting this weekend.

The call for more troopers comes after increased reports of accidents and speeding through the department’s Area Coordinated Enforcement (ACE) technology.

ACE gives troopers real-time traffic data throughout the state so troopers from other counties can be sent to the areas that need the most help.

The SC Department of Public Safety reports a rise in traffic deaths in recent years. In the state from January 1 to October 9, 2019, there were 777 deaths. That number jumped to 791 in 2020 and 854 so far this year.

Each year, Trooper David Jones says the goal is the same: to get down to zero traffic deaths in South Carolina.

“So, you look at that as a number,” said Jones. “But, when you start to put a name with a number, you think about the communities that are affected and the lives that were lost, and immediately the family members that received the worst news of their life, it tends to bring it home a little more.”

Jones says about three families per day are notified that a loved one has died in a traffic incident, and the ACE technology aims to prevent those deaths from happening.

Law enforcement will be out in full force starting this weekend, focusing on the busiest areas such as I-26, I-20, and Highway 378.

But why let the public know where troopers are going to be?

“At the end of the day, we don’t want to stop any cars or write any tickets,” said Jones. “We publish the counties we’re going to be in in the hopes that motorists will do the right thing.”

Highway Patrol’s tips for safe driving include:

  • Wearing your seatbelt
  • Obeying the speed limit
  • Using a designated driver if needed

“If you make that poor decision to drink and drive, be prepared to go to jail because we’re going to have the resources available to stop and do that,” said Jones.

Jones says Highway Patrol’s increased presence in Richland and Saluda counties will continue in the weekends leading up to the holiday season.

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