Motorists and residents of Laurens County can expect to see additional law enforcement in the coming weeks as troopers join local officers to crack down on impaired driving and other violations that led to a 50 percent increase in fatalities last year. The Patrol investigated 21 fatalities in Laurens County last year, compared to 14 in 2011. Alcohol was a factor in 11 of the 21 fatalities in 2012 compared to two of the 14 fatalities in 2011.
Special enforcement will be held starting today and running through Thursday, the 17th. Another Laurens County concentration will run from February 5 through February 8. These enforcement efforts will be a continuation of the enforcement plan that began in October to reduce fatalities when agencies issued 342 violations including 21 drug cases and three felony arrests.
Capt. D. W. Yongue, commander of Highway Patrol Troop Two, which includes Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry, and Saluda counties, said: “We want people in this area to know that preserving life and making Laurens County a safer place to live and raise our families is a community effort,” Yongue said. “Law enforcement can only do so much but the public has to commit to safe driving habits – like buckling up – every day without exception.”
The South Carolina Highway Patrol will use its motorcycle units, in addition to regular enforcement vehicles, and will be joined by the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton Public Safety, and the State Transport Police.
Primary violations that continue to concern officials include lack of safety belt use, speeding violations, and reckless and impaired driving. Vulnerable roadway user deaths (pedestrians, motorcycles and moped users) increased by 100 percent from four to eight since 2011). Law enforcement remains concerned about the number of vehicle occupants dying unbelted. Of the 21 deaths last year, 13 or 76 percent were unrestrained. There will also be a special emphasis on faulty equipment and the dangers that can present on the highways.