New Year’s Eve is always deemed as one of the most dangerous nights of the year to be on the road. Each and every year, and this year more than ever before, the Clinton Police Department and Sampson County Sheriff’s Office are intensifying enforcement and doing everything they can to make the highways a safer place to be.
On Saturday Dec. 19, the Clinton Police Department had a checking station in Clinton, trying to spot driving while impaired (DWI), seat belt, texting, and any other violations that may prohibit the highway from being a safe place to be. The checkpoint was on Faircloth Freeway, in between the Sunset Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. exit ramps.
“The checking station went really well,” said Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley. “We really wanted to get the message across to everyone in the area that the police are stepping up their enforcement on all traffic violations, and really focusing on those that are causing the most accidents, and most accidents with injuries.”
Weekly, the police department looks at data to see the things that are causing accidents, and the things that are causing fatal accidents.
“What we do is take a look at that data, and then we can kind of make a game-plan as to where we need to really be focusing, and what we really need to be looking out for,” said Sampson County Sheriff’s Office Captain, Eric Pope. “With this data, the accident number have been about the same, but the accidents with injuries and severe injuries have really gone down.”
The accident with injuries statistic is down 21 percent in 2015 as opposed to the average over the past five years, something that Tilley is proud of.
“That is a big advantage of having access to this data, and that’s something the check point does. It allows us to get a count of some of the traffic infractions that go on in a typical day in the local areas,” said the Clinton Police Chief.
At this year’s checkpoint, there were no DWI tickets handed out. There were six seat belt tickets, and five driving with revoked license tickets. Through all infractions, there were 119 citations handed out at the checkpoint last week. Although there were no DWI tickets handed out, that doesn’t mean that it will not be the first thing cops will be looking out for in the future, and especially on New Year’s Eve.
“If you drink and drive, you will get arrested, that’s the bottom line,” said Tilley. “Drivers can expect increased enforcement throughout the city and the county, so we are doing everything we can to keep the roads safe.”
Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton also wanted to encourage drivers to be on the lookout at all times, especially for the other people that are on the road.
“Unfortunately, we do have people that drink and drive. The thing is, if you’re going to drink, you need to have a designated driver,” said Thornton. “Also, to ensure safety all the way around, drivers should be on the lookout for other drivers. Our guys are going to be out there looking for drinking and driving, but everyone on the roads should be mindful of the other vehicles on the road.”
With New Year’s Eve right around the corner, Tilley and on behalf of the entire staff at the Clinton Police Department, and Sheriff Thornton wanted to express that they hoped everyone had a safe and happy New Year, and that it started with not drinking and driving, and being careful on the roads.
“Whether it’s texting, drinking, or anything that attributes to inattention, it’s not a good thing to do while operating a motor vehicle,” said Tilley. “We want to make sure that this is the safest New Year’s Eve and New Years that we have had, and that starts with the drivers. We are going to do our part to keep the roads as safe as possible.”
Reach Adam Capps at 910-214-9585