MYRTLE BEACH — Area police plan have more officers on the streets to increase their enforcement against driving under the influence offenses during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebrations, according to authorities.
The increased enforcement is the first of several planned weekend crackdowns on DUI offenses this year to help prevent fatal crashes, said Cpl. Shannon Toole with Myrtle Beach police. Traffic officers will be reassigned from responding to calls to being proactive and monitoring roadways for impaired drivers.
“It should be every time people go out and decide to drink . . . they need to preplan for a safe way to get home,” Toole said Friday.
Forty percent of the state’s traffic fatalities involve a driver that is impaired, he said. Changeable message boards throughout the Myrtle Beach area are warning drivers about the increased patrols and DUI enforcement.
The enforcement is “a part of a continued effort to get to zero deaths,” Toole said. So far, 119 people have been killed on state roadways this year, which is slightly lower than 155 killed during the same time last year, he said.
“It’s about building awareness and hoping the public is becoming more responsible and preplanning to get to and from their destination safely especially on weekends like this,” Toole said.
Police also plan to increase DUI patrols and enforcement during the Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day weekends, he said.
Other police departments in Horry and Georgetown counties also will increase their patrols, said Toole, who is also a member of the 15th Circuit Law Enforcement Network.
Contact TONYA ROOT at 444-1723 or follow her at Twitter.com/tonyaroot.