POOLER, Ga. (WTOC) - In one of the fastest-growing cities in our area, police are working hard to keep up with more vehicles on the road as well as more drivers who may not be doing what they’re supposed to.
The Pooler Police Traffic Unit covers a lot of heavily-traveled territory, including stretches of interstates 16 and 95.
It’s more than just running radar and writing tickets. Driver safety on the roads is a goal every day for the Pooler police officers who patrol the busy city’s roads. Make no mistake about it though, you will see Pooler officers enforcing the speed limit, especially when high rates of speed could mix with distracted driving.
“We get people all the time in crashes saying they never slowed down, they never hit the brakes, and that can only be a few things," said Lt. Victor Tyson, Pooler PD. "People aren’t paying attention to what’s in front of them, and so, put the cell phone down.”
There have been several crashes during this week’s morning commutes, and while the causes may still be under investigation, the sheer numbers of drivers on the road means a higher chance of fender benders, clogging up main traffic arteries.
“The last two years, probably exponentially. With the growth of the city and the businesses and residential growth, we’ve seen a lot of extra vehicles on the roadways,” Lt. Tyson said.
Each patrol shift works to maintain as much of a presence as they can, but department leadership knows a growing city needs a police force to grow with it.
"We’re actually adding officers every year. I think the chief’s got it on the budget to add officers next year, and the years after that, but you know, once you start seeing an uptick in the numbers of cars on the roadway, you see an uptick in the number of crashes.”
Another tool that is just rolling out for the department is a DUI simulator that they received through a grant. WTOC got to see first-hand just how dangerous impaired driving can be, while in the safe confines of the simulator course.
The goal will be to take the simulator around to as many groups as possible, while focusing first on one particular demographic.
“The focus is to start with the young drivers, because they’re the ones starting out,” Lt. Tyson said. "They’re the ones that need to learn you don’t need to be distracted behind the wheel and you don’t need to be impaired while you’re driving.”
Tyson says the first year ride-share companies started up in the area, DUI arrests and crashes dropped dramatically. This year, he says Pooler Police are on track to make well above the number of DUI arrests as they did last year.
If you’d like to contact the Pooler Police Department about getting the simulator, you can call them at 912.748.7333.