SC Highway Patrol planning holiday DUI checkpoints to curb drunk driving wrecks, deaths

S.C. Highway Patrol (WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The South Carolina Highway Patrol is planning DUI checkpoints starting Friday. It's an effort to step up enforcement around the state leading into the holidays.

"Last year in 2016, statewide there were 296 fatal collisions that involved impaired drivers," said Lance Cpl. Matt Southern with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

More than 10,000 people were killed across the U.S. in 2016 specifically from alcohol-related crashes, according to the Department of Transportation.

"You have to do the right thing when you’re out there," Southern said. "We know that senseless tragedies occur when people choose to drink behind the wheel of a car, so what we want to do is prevent those tragedies from occurring."

Drivers will likely see checkpoints around the Lowcountry and throughout the state between now and New Year's, and a DUI arrest could be costly.

"The average first offense DUI charge is $10,000. An Uber or Lyft ride is so much cheaper," Southern said of the typical combined costs of legal fees and a DUI fine. A DUI fine alone can run from $997-$2,100.

Drivers are urged to call Star 47 if they spot someone they suspect may be driving under the influence.

Twenty-two-thousand South Carolina drivers were arrested for DUI in 2016.

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