Troopers to await speeders

AIKEN - Memorial Day weekend means an increase in traffic, and to make busy roads safer the South Carolina Highway Patrol kicked off Thursday the Trooper Every 10 program, putting officers on interstates every 10 miles.

 

"The troopers every 10 miles is used as a deterrent, not only to make sure people are safe, but also to make people aware that we are out there in force," said Lance Cpl. Scot Edgeworth.

Troopers will patrol the interstate this weekend to deter aggressive driving. The official travel period begins at 6 p.m. tonight and continues through Monday at midnight.

Last year, 11 people died statewide during the 78-hour travel period, although none died in Aiken County.

"We don't like to have to go investigate a collision fatality," Lance Cpl. Edgeworth said. "And the hardest part for that trooper is making that death notification to the family."

Over the weekend, troopers will target speeders, aggressive drivers displaying bad behavior such as improper lane changes and tailgating, seat belt violators and drunken drivers, he said. South Carolina attracts a lot of out-of-state travelers, who add to already congested roads.

According to the highway patrol, traffic fatalities have increased statewide this year. In 2007, 398 motorists have died compared with 371 during the same period last year.

"As folks head into our state, we want this high visibility to get their attention and alter deadly driving behaviors," Col. Russell F. Roark III said in a statement.

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or michelle.guffey@augustachronicle.com