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SCHP July 4 enforcement begins today

Posted: June 28, 2013 4:12 p.m.
Updated: July 1, 2013 5:00 a.m.

S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP) troopers, in conjunction with the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), Camden Police Department (CPD) and Kershaw County’s Community Action for a Safer Tomorrow (CAST), will begin its July 4th weekend enforcement program Wednesday at 6 a.m. Enhanced patrols, checkpoints and other efforts will continue until 12 a.m. Saturday night.

SCHP Lance Cpl. Brent Kelly said there will be checkpoints set up each day and DUI enforcement on roads along Lake Wateree on both the Camden and Lugoff sides of the Lake.

“It’s a big holiday for lake-goers,” Kelly said.

Kelly said the July 4th weekend program will also include patrols on I-20 and on Kershaw County’s main roadways, using both radar and LIDAR detectors in a focus on speeding.

“We’ll also be conducting nighttime seatbelt enforcement -- every night,” Kelly said. “We’re seeing fatalaties at night when seatbelt usage is decreased. There’s a risk because of lower visibility and unfamiliarity with rural roads.”

Kelly said Kershaw County’s traffic fatality count is much higher so far in 2013 than in 2012. He said compared to only four fatalities at this time in 2012, there have already been 11 fatalities in Kershaw County in this year. Ten of those have been worked by the SCHP; the eleventh by the CPD, he said.

“The biggest factors appear to be speed and alcohol, coupled with not wearing seatbelts,” Kelly said.

In addition to the standard warnings not to drink and drive, speed or text while driving, Kelly also suggested that those traveling for the July 4th weekend make sure they have everything they need in case their vehicle breaks down.

“Slow down and take your time,” he said. “Getting upset can cause a collision which only causes more backups and congestion. If you have an accident or see something, call 911 or *HP.”

The SCHP is in its second month of its annual “100 Days of Summer” campaign. While traffic fatalaties are down across the state -- 79 fewer than in 2012 -- Kelly noted the sharp rise in Kershaw County fatalities.

“It’s almost three times what it was last year,” he said.

To counter that, Kelly said SCHP Troop One Capt. Clyde Stephens is planning a week-long enforcement blitz at the end of the month.

Troopers on motorcycles, as well as sheriff’s deputies, will be out in force to combat the rising number of fatalities.

“It’s going to be one big enforcement blitz,” Kelly said. “We’re hoping that it will change things.”

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