Law enforcement is conducting a blitz enforcement of all traffic laws, especially speeding, no seat belt and distracted driving, on major roads and the adjoining secondary roads.
The idea is to hold down fatalities, numbering 7 so far this calendar year. This time last year - one of the worst on record - the fatalities number was 12 for Laurens County.
Statewide, from March 9 to March 11, 2018, four people were killed on SC roads - as of March 11 this year, 145 people have died on South Carolina roads. Of the 106 vehicle fatalities, 58 were not wearing seat belts. For this year, 22 pedestrians have died, 13 motorcyclists and 2 bicyclists.
Clinton Public Safety Director Robin Morse cautioned one thing to watch out for in the city is construction - and construction workers. Large steel plates cover parts of South Broad Street where water and sewer lines are being dug up. The State Department of Transportation is going to re-pave South Broad Street this year.
While the plates can be driven over, motorists not expecting them can be startled when they run over the steel. Also, some motorists are swerving to miss bumping-over the steel plates.
Daylight Saving Time is another concern, said Laurens Police Chief Sonny Ledda. People used to driving to and from school and work at a certain time of day may have a messed up body clock with “spring forward.” Early morning commutes are before dawn, something it will take motorists a while to get used to. Also, people working different shifts will experience different levels of fatigue, Ledda said.
Hydroplaning and distracted driving also are major hazards, SC Highway Patrol officials cautioned.
There will be more traffic checkpoints out during the March 19-21 enforcement. Where these will be located is not being disclosed by traffic officials. The SC Highway Patrol, Department of Public Safety and Transportation Police expect to received assistance from the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, Laurens Police, Clinton Department of Public Safety, and Presbyterian College Police during this ramped up enforcement.
Troop 2 Commander’s Captain DW Yongue said motorists need to keep their vehicles in top shape. Bald tires give the vehicle no “grip” on rain-slick roads. All it takes is running off the shoulder just a little, overcorrecting, and crossing the center line to cause a fatal wreck.
Yongue said everyone should be mindful of the traffic adage - “Drive Defensively”.
The Troop 2 Commander said on March 19, 20 and 21, 24-7 during this timeframe, expect to see an increased law enforcement presence on Hwys 76, 221, 25 and 72, and these highways’ adjoining secondary roads.