State and local law enforcement to increase presence for Labor Day weekend

·3 min read

Sep. 1—As drivers hit the road for Labor Day weekend, there will be an increased police presence to keep motorists safe.

"It's externally important because local and state enforcement agencies from South Carolina and Georgia are getting together and are doing something that is important and that is making sure people are not drinking and driving," South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Tyler Tidwell said.

Various state and local law enforcement agencies from South Carolina and Georgia met at the Richmond County Sheriff's Office south precinct Wednesday evening as part of the Hands Across the Border campaign and to discuss increased safety measures during the Labor Day weekend.

From Friday until Monday, Sept. 5, there will be an increased presence of law enforcement on the roads to help reduce the number of fatal traffic accidents and to keep impaired drivers off the road.

The Hands Across the Border wraps up the Sober or Slammer campaign which started Aug. 17, and the nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.

Labor Day will also end the 100 Deadly Days of Summer campaign, Tidwell said.

Tidwell said from Memorial Day to Labor Day there is an increase in traffic accidents because more people are out due to the warmer weather.

Compared to 2021, there has been a decrease in traffic fatalities in South Carolina. For 2022, 631 people have been killed in South Carolina, compared to 718 around this time last year, according to a media release from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Tidwell said driving under the influence is a big issue in South Carolina, and one thing law enforcement can do is to get people who drink off the road.

Tidwell said there are many options for people who do decide to drink such as using Uber or Lyft.

"Just don't make that poor decision to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and drive," he said. "You can potentially kill yourself or somebody else."

Capt. Eric Abdullah with the Aiken County Sheriff's Office said his department doesn't really have plans for the upcoming weekend, but deputies will be out doing their normal patrols.

However, the Aiken Department of Public Safety will have more officers on the road, Sgt. Joe O' Conor said.

O'Conor said the department will be out enforcing the traffic laws, and over the past week the department has been doing a lot of enforcement in school zones because students have returned to classes.

"I just want everybody to follow the rules of the road and get home safely ," he said.

Lt. Verne Sadler with the North Augusta Department of Public Safety said working with and learning from other law enforcement agencies is a great way to keep people safe.

"Our concentration will be getting impaired drivers off the road and lesser offenses like speeding or drifting on the centerline," he said.

Allen Poole, director of the Georgia Highway Patrol, said there has been an increase in traffic incidents like speeding and traffic-related deaths, but collaboration is a good start in decreasing the numbers.

"What this (Hands Across the Border) reflects is that we are going to show the public that we are still here and we are still visible," he said.