BLUFFTON, S.C. (WSAV) – If you’ve driven on Highway 278 in the last two weeks, you may have seen law enforcement out in full force.
It was part of Bluffton Police Department’s traffic enforcement operation, four days pulling over nearly 600 people for violations.
“What we’re looking for is those traffic violations, speeding, changing lanes unlawfully, seat belt violations, trying to educate motorists to always make sure they’re doing the right thing out here,” said Detective Jake Higgins with the Bluffton Police Department.
With the help of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, South Carolina Highway Patrol, and Hardeeville Police along 278, they did just that.
“The purpose wasn’t to get out on the road and write tickets,” said Joy Nelson with the Bluffton PD, “The point of this is education, it is awareness.”
With two fatalities on 278 in just three weeks, Bluffton PD is trying to change things. Over the course of the operation, the agencies together gave out 283 tickets and 292 warnings.
“The speed limits are the speed limits, 45 is 45 and 55 is 55,” said Higgins.
News Three went on a ride-along with Higgins and as soon as we turned the corner from the police station on Buckwalter Pkwy onto 278, there was a woman texting while driving with her kids in the car.
“She’s got her kids with her, so that’s setting a bad example,” said Higgins.
She got a warning, but others stops lead to much worse.
A minor traffic stop for violating the move over law…
“Any time there’s a police officer, construction worker, fire engine, anything like that on the shoulder,” Higgins said, “You have to move over outside of that lane.”
Lead to an arrest of a woman driving impaired with possession of marijuana.
“She’s driving impaired, she just smoked marijuana, so she’s completely impaired, her eyes are bloodshot, she’s lethargic,” said Higgins, “I’m gonna tow her car and she’s gonna go to jail.”
This is only the start of Bluffton’s Distracted Driving Campaign in the month of September, but with the nearly 600 people pulled over for traffic violations in just four days, they hope their message is loud and clear: slow down and pay attention.