Motorcycle Patrol Unit Cracks Down in Low Country - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/30/04

Motorcycle Patrol Unit Cracks Down in Low Country

The South Carolina Highway Patrol is paying close attention to potentially dangerous drivers. People are dying at record rates in accidents on South Carolina highways. Fifty more fatalities this year than at the same time last year.

That's why the highway patrol is kicking off a special enforcement effort. Troopers are now using their motorcycle unit to focus on the drivers who travel along some of the deadliest highways in the state, beginning right in the Low Country.

"We're targeting violations that cause fatalities, which are speeding, following too close, failing to yield right of way, disregarding sings and signals," said Cpl. Kevin Elia.

As part of this special enforcement effort, troopers are targeting aggressive drivers from the overpasses and then sending their motorcycle units on their way.

"I have personally have written 77 violations myself since I've been here for the week," said Cpl. Elia.

In fact so far this week, the unit has written nearly 500 tickets between Beaufort and Jasper County. But, the idea isn't just to write tickets, it's to make drivers aware before another fatal crash. The unit started its special enforcement in Beaufort County, focusing on Highways 278, 170, 46 and 21. But then turned their focus to I-95 after two fatalities occurred there this week.

After this week, the unit will move on to other deadly highways throughout the state as part of a month-long effort.

Although the mere presence of any law enforcement unit usually proves to be effective, the motorcycle unit has advantages over the typical patrol car. "In situations where we have a high volume of traffic, the motorcycle can squeeze through the traffic, a patrol car cannot," said Cpl. Elia.

This motorcycle unit did the same thing in other parts of the state last year and said it was effective. In fact, they saw the amount of collisions drop.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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