SCDPS urging caution during Christmas holiday travel period

COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety urges motorists to make safety their top priority during the busy holiday travel period.

The 78-hour Christmas holiday weekend officially starts on December 23, and runs through midnight on December 26.

Last year, there were 10 people killed on South Carolina roadways from December 24 – December 27, 2015. From 2010-2015, an average number of 10 people died each year during the Christmas travel period.

“The holidays should be a time for celebration and enjoying family and friends,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “No family should have to experience the tragedy of losing a loved one on the highways. Let’s all work together toward ZERO fatalities. We want everyone home safely for the holidays.”

The department is continuing its Sober or Slammer! enforcement and public education campaign. Drivers should be on the lookout for any suspected impaired drivers and report them by calling *HP (*47).

SCHP Col. Mike Oliver cautioned motorists that all available troopers, including the 62 new troopers who graduated last week, would be patrolling during the holidays.

“Our primary concerns this time of year are speed, aggressive/distracted driving, and drunk driving,” Oliver said. “Our troopers, along with local law enforcement will continue a heavy emphasis on taking drunk drivers off our roadways through the new year.”

As of December 21, 2016, 953 people have died on South Carolina roadways in 2016, compared to 956 during the same period in 2015.

Troopers urge extreme caution and patience as motorists travel long distances for the holidays as well as local and stop-and-go traffic around shopping centers both before and after Christmas.


Keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Always designate a driver at any event where alcohol is being served;
  • Move over for emergency vehicles;
  • Avoid distractions;
  • Be aware of fatigue from long travel; take frequent breaks;
  • Reduce vehicle speed, especially in work zones;
  • Wait to text or use cell phones until the vehicle is stopped;
  • Buckle up – and encourage family members to buckle up – every trip, every time.


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