Local motorists should notice an increased presence by the S.C. Highway Patrol and local law enforcement officers this coming week.
The SCHP will be conducting what it calls a “traffic blitz” in Laurens County beginning Monday, March 19 and lasting through Wednesday, March 21. It will involve additional manpower from the SCHP, Laurens Police, which has two dedicated traffic officers, state transportation police, the Clinton Department of Public Safety, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and the Presbyterian College Campus Police.
“This is going to be with additional personnel,” said SCHP Troop 2 Commander Capt. D.W. Yongue. “We’re going to have a lot more people in the area than we usually have.”
Additional checkpoints and additional personnel will be posted around the clock and center on highways 76, 25, 72, and 221, Yongue said.
Clinton Public Safety Director Robin Morse said motorists in Clinton should also be on the lookout for more-than-usual road construction in the area, including this week’s CSX railroad crossings closures at Springdale, Adair and Woodrow streets.
“We just want to keep everyone safe,” Morse said.
Yongue said the high number of fatalities in 2017 – 29 including pedestrians – that put Laurens County among the state leaders in that category is the onus behind next week’s traffic blitz.
At this point in 2017, 11 traffic fatalities were recorded in the county, a number that is down to seven this year and includes one accident that claimed the lives of four people in early February.
“It’s mostly one-car collisions, and more times than not – I think it was 64 percent last year – people aren’t wearing a seatbelt and are ejected,” Yongue said. “If we could just get people to buckle up it would save lives. Another thing we want to stress is making good decisions while you’re operating a vehicle.”
Distracted driving is among the leading causes of highway accidents, according to the SCHP.
Through this past weekend, 145 traffic fatalities have occurred on state roads and highways, including 106 in vehicles, 13 motorcyclists, 22 pedestrians and two on bicycles.