S.C. Highway Patrol aims to staff troopers every 10 miles of interstate for holiday weekend

Troopers deal with spike in deadly crashes

LANCASTER COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - Heading into the Labor Day weekend South Carolina Highway Patrol says their goal is to have a trooper on every 10 miles of interstate.

Across the state SCHP reports that traffic fatalities are down about 8 percent compared to this time last year from 683 deaths in 2018 to 623 fatalities in 2019. However, in Lancaster County, their numbers have doubled and in York County they’re up about 50 percent.

“York is one of the fastest growing counties in the state, and South Carolina is one of the best and fastest growing economies in the nation, so what does that tell you?” said Master Trooper Gary Miller. “We’re in a hotspot.”

Troopers say because of the growth in York County their enforcement efforts have gone up, but unfortunately so have the number of roadway deaths.

“When we look at our numbers over the same time period, from last year to this year, our enforcement activity is up considerably. Our collisions are actually down slightly, but our fatalities have gone from 24 last year [in York County] during the same time, up to 37, which is where we are now,” added Miller.

Master Trooper Miller says they’ve partnered with law enforcement agencies in both York and Lancaster to try and address the increase, but they’re asking for the public’s help too.

“Sometimes I feel like a broken record because we are constantly reminding people, ‘Don’t speed, don’t drink and drive, don’t drive distracted, keep a safe following distance and everybody in the vehicle needs to be buckled up’,” he added.

Trooper Miller calls them essential reminders especially heading into the Labor Day weekend which marks the end of what’s known as the ‘100 Deadly Days of Summer.’

“We kicked off Memorial Day weekend and it runs through our Labor Day holiday,” said Miller. “Last year through the Labor Day weekend, just the Labor Day weekend alone, we had 993 collisions resulting in more than 476 people injured and 11 fatalities-- that’s just over the holiday weekend.”

They are numbers troopers don’t want to see this year which is why you can expect to see the increase in law enforcement presence.

“Drive sober or get pulled over,” said Miller. “That’s what we’re doing-- everything we can do to lock up the drunks before they hurt themselves or hurt somebody else.”

Troopers add if you do run into any trouble on the roadways over the weekend highway patrol wants you to call *HP. They say it’s extremely helpful to know which roadway you’re on and the closest intersection when you’re making a call to troopers.

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