Georgia, South Carolina law enforcement team up for safe driving initiative

Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 1:37 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The busy Labor Day travel weekend has just started, and local law enforcement wants to remind you to keep the roadways safe.

That’s why Georgia State Patrol and South Carolina Highway Patrol are teaming up to ensure smooth travel this weekend. It’s part of the 31st annual “Hands Across the Border” initiative.

I-95 is expected to stay busy throughout this holiday weekend. That’s exactly why state troopers from both Georgia and South Carolina say they will be out in full force to take impaired and distracted drivers off the road.

Both states will have extra patrols out this weekend – looking for three main things.

“Driving distracted, driving above the speed limit, as well as drinking and driving.”

Last year, during the Labor Day holiday weekend, there were 22 traffic fatalities in Georgia. GSP officials say they will have 75 percent of their troopers on the road this weekend.

“The biggest thing I see is aggressive drivers. Speeders, following too closely, weaving in and out of traffic creating a dangerous environment for everybody especially on the interstates. On back roads, I see people drinking and driving, I see distracted driving,” GSP Capt. Chris Rodewolt said.

And law enforcement leaders say their safety efforts are working. South Carolina is down 116 traffic fatalities compared to this time last year.

“We can’t do it by ourselves. We have to do it together. It takes us coming together to reduce these collisions and reduce these fatalities,” said Brent Kelly, with the S.C. Department of Public Safety.

AAA is also offering their tow-to-go program in Georgia, which can get you and your car home safely if you’ve been drinking. The service is not available in South Carolina though.

“We don’t want it to be your first option. The fact is that many people say they get in their vehicle impaired, because they don’t want to leave their vehicle where it is. The AAA tow to go program takes care of that,” said Gary Townsend, with AAA Auto Club Georgia.

Something else to remember this weekend – buckle up.

“Out of the individuals who lost their lives on South Carolina roadways this year, the ones who had access to seatbelts, that’s not pedestrians, motorcyclists, or bicyclists. The ones who had access to seatbelts, over 50 percent of those individuals were not wearing them. If everyone was wearing their seatbelts, our fatality number would be even lower than what it is now,” S.C. Highway Patrol Lance Cpl. Nick Pye said.

Two law enforcement agencies with the same goal – preventing fatalities on the roadways – especially this weekend.

Troopers from both states say they will continue to enforce traffic safety every day of the holiday weekend.