The Hartsville Police Department is wishing Hartsville residents a happy holiday season and is stepping up its DUI enforcement efforts to ensure that everyone has a safe season.

“As we move into the holiday season, we would like to remind drivers that this time of year brings a substantial increase of travelers, and also an increase in impaired driving,” a press release from the department said.

“Impaired driving collisions, fatalities, and arrests are all 100 percent preventable! Please carefully consider the consequences of driving while impaired or distracted and always plan for a safe ride home,” the release said.

Ever hear of Blackout Wednesday? Blackout Wednesday, which is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, is an example of a cultural phenomenon where excessive drinking and impairment are often encouraged during the Thanksgiving holiday.

NHTSA and the Hartsville Police ask that you boycott any activity like this. According to NHTSA, from 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol impaired driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, making it one of the deadliest holidays on the roadways.

In 2018, 10,511 people died in drunk driving crashes. That number is down by 3.6 percent compared to 2017 but still means that every day an average of 29 people are killed in drunk driving collisions—that is one person every 50 minutes.

“Despite increased enforcement and awareness campaigns, drunk driving is still killing more people on our roadways than any other cause,” the release said.

This holiday season the Hartsville Police will be aggressively enforcing criminal and traffic violations, especially impaired driving.In order to be more effective in accomplishing its goal to keep the city’s streets safe, the department’s DUI grant officer and traffic safety officer will be working an unpredictable schedule. The police department will also continue to use public safety checkpoints as a part of its continued enforcement efforts.

“Again, we wish everyone a very safe holiday season,” the release states. “If you decide to drink, please have a designated driver. We also encourage you to never drive distracted or when you are fatigued. Sending or reading a text message or email can wait until you are safely stopped in a parking space. If you have not had enough rest or have eaten too much turkey, it is probably a good idea to get a nap before you get behind the wheel.”

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