COLUMBIA, SC — The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) and the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) announced the launch of a 24-member Target Zero Enforcement Team Wednesday. Funding for the new 24-trooper unit is being provided by SCDOT. These troopers will work to reduce highway tragedies by focusing proactive enforcement on identified roadway corridors that are high-risk for traffic fatalities and serious injuries.
The new team is a part of the SCDPS Target Zero mission – a multi-tiered plan to reduce and ultimately end traffic fatalities in South Carolina.
“This announcement represents another exciting step forward in eliminating deaths on our roadways,” said SCDPS Director Leroy Smith. “We believe that the loss of even one life on our highways is unacceptable. We want every driver, every family in our state to take the pledge to make Target Zero their personal goal.”
The Target Zero Team will focus on 16 corridors in the state. The 24 troopers will be divided into six teams of four troopers, focusing on those corridors. Their primary focus will be enforcement to combat three of the leading killers in South Carolina: DUI, speeding and failure to buckle up. The Target Zero Team will allow the South Carolina Highway Patrol to have a greater visibility on South Carolina roadways through roving patrols, public safety checkpoints, safety belt checks and nighttime safety belt enforcement.
“SCDOT is excited about this partnering opportunity with SCDPS,” said Acting Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall. “We are confident that this program will have a positive, life-saving impact.”
The sixteen (16) corridors of focus are:
- I-26 in Lexington, Berkeley and Charleston counties;
- S. 1 and S.C. 48 in Richland County;
- S. 301 in Orangeburg County;
- S. 17 in Charleston County;
- Three segments of U.S. 17 in Horry County;
- S. 501 in Horry County;
- S-62 in Berkeley County;
- S. 25, U.S. 276 and I-385 in Greenville County;
- S. 28 in Anderson County.
The Target Zero message is also currently being spread through billboard and regional television campaigns, as well as through fatality counts on SCDOT’s overhead roadway message signs. Law enforcement throughout the state will begin using Target Zero-themed citation holders to help traffic law violators understand the scope of the highway fatality issue.
So far this summer, 159 people have died on South Carolina roadways, compared to 149 this time last year. Total traffic fatalities are running ahead of last year at this time with 523 highway deaths compared to 444 in 2014.
In addition to the team, SCDPS and SCDOT announced the launch of a new Target Zero website, www.sctargetzeroplan.org, featuring the state’s Strategic Highway Safety plan. The plan was recently completed by representatives from SCDPS, SCDOT, Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA).