COLUMBIA, S.C. — Troopers are asking drivers to be more mindful while on the roadway as traffic increases for the Memorial Day Weekend.
Memorial Day brings many people out on the roads as they travel to various destinations, including beaches and other attractions across the country. The weekend brings in travelers from out of state to South Carolina.
With the coronavirus pandemic, there's been less traveling. As businesses and attractions have begun to reopen, there's been an increase in traffic.
Trooper David Jones with the South Carolina Highway Patrol says they have been getting prepared for the weekend and urges people to be careful while they're out and about.
"As you head into Memorial Day Weekend, one thing we want motorists to keep in mind is that although traffic has been decreased over the last few months because of the pandemic, we're starting to see those traffic counts rise," said Trooper Jones.
As the state continues to reopen, troopers have seen an increase in the number of collisions, causing an increase in injuries and death.
Troopers believe people can help limit accidents by being mindful and more accountable for the decisions they make.
"It goes back to personal responsibility," explained Trooper Jones. "We preach our message of Target Zero and no traffic deaths but it goes back to the operator. We need the community to take the lead on this and make the decision to not get behind the wheel of a car if they've been drinking."
Troopers think drivers should make sure they and everyone in their vehicle are wearing seat belts.
While there's been less congestion on the roadway, there have been cars traveling faster down the highway. One trooper clocked a driver going 124 miles per hour on a road with a speed limit of 70 miles per hour.
"Those speeds are unacceptable. When you look at that, not only is it very dangerous, but if you were to get ticketed, its upwards of $440, six points on your license and then if you seriously hurt somebody, you could be charged and ultimately spend ten years in prison for that."
Over the past several months, the South Carolina Highway Patrol has issued 5,000 traffic violations.
Troopers believe we can help out healthcare workers by following traffic laws and not causing accidents and injuries while traveling.
"The virus is still here. The hospital staffs are still working day and night. Let's not over tax the healthcare workers that's already burdened enough with the pandemic that's upon us."
Trooper Jones went on to say, "Day in and day out, we have troopers who suit up and put this uniform on who go out and try to make a difference. Our main goal is to stop the knock. We don't want to knock on any more doors. Unfortunately we see traffic deaths on a daily basis. We don't want to see any more traffic deaths."
If anyone see's anything concerning on the roadway, they are asked to call the South Carolina Highway Patrol by dialing *47.