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LFD supports highway safety

Posted: December 26, 2013 4:55 p.m.
Updated: December 27, 2013 5:00 a.m.

A crashed car, hearse and a safety banner in front of the Lugoff Fire Department (LFD) on U.S. 1 in Lugoff are a way of showing the agency’s support for the statewide “Sober or Slammer” highway safety campaign. The car and banner also serve as a reminder to drivers of the dangers of unsafe driving.

To further emphasize the dangers of unsafe driving, a hearse was placed behind the crashed car as many highway deaths could have been prevented with safer driving practices.

“As first responders, we are the first arriving crews on most vehicle crashes,” LFD Chief Dennis Ray said. “We have to extricate people trapped in cars and remove lifeless bodies time and time again on our highways. We see the destruction that impaired driving, excessive speed, aggressive driving, and distracted driving can cause people. We also see the injuries and death that may have been prevented from seatbelt use.

“Vehicle air bags and supplemental restraint systems are designed to be used in addition to the vehicle seatbelts. When a driver chooses not wear a seatbelt, that driver just sacrificed the effectiveness of all of the vehicle safety devices designed to protect him or her during a crash. Also, there is no excuse for driving while impaired, jeopardizing the safety of everyone else on the road.”

Lugoff firefighters hope to bring a stern awareness to drivers to drive safe and sober during the holidays when traffic crashes and fatalities increase statewide. Many crashes in Kershaw County continue to be related to impaired driving -- crashes that are 100 percent preventable, Ray said.

While impaired driving crashes are caused by some “drunk drivers,” there are also many impaired driver crashes caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but not what some would consider “drunk.” Legal and illegal drug use while operating motor vehicles, with or without the use of alcohol, also lead to many impaired driving crashes.

“There are very, very few ‘accidents’ that occur on our roadways in vehicle crashes. The vast majority of all vehicle crashes could have been prevented by safer driving practices and caution,” Ray said. “I believe it is wrong to call most of the vehicle crashes today ‘accidents’ since they really could have been prevented.”

Crews will leave the safety display up until after the first of the year hoping to reach as many drivers passing by as possible.

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