The South Carolina State Patrol has a message for lawmakers and SC residents: if something isn’t done about the shrinking numbers of state police officers on the road, they may see the number of car accidents and secondary car accidents go up. At the same time, they may see longer response times to accidents as well as more traffic whenever a serious car accident takes place.
What is the reason for the lack of South Carolina State Patrol officers? The department says that they are losing a large number to officers to retirement, while losing others to new jobs. The result, they say, is that fewer troopers will be on the state’s highways and interstates – and that the roads will be less safe.
While South Carolina’s rate of car accident fatalities and serious accidents has gone down in recent years, the state police want to make certain that they keep heading in that direction by patrolling the roads for DUIs, speeders, and reckless drivers. Currently the state is on track to have less than 800 fatalities from traffic accidents in 2010, the lowest number in three decades. However, authorities don’t want to see those number go up – and they still believe that having over 700 people die each year in accident is still far too many.
The State Patrol is asking lawmakers to train 50 new officers this year to replace the 60 that they are losing. Since 2008, the force has lost over 150 officers. However, the state budget is as tight as it has ever been and lawmakers are unsure of what the best use of the money would ultimately be.