COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/SCRN/WVOC) – The Capital City will be the site of an experimental program aimed at cracking down on drunken driving by paying people who report DUI suspects.
The South Carolina Radio Network reports that AAA Carolinas is partnering with the City of Columbia and Columbia police to offer a $100 reward to a witness who reports a drunk driver who is successfully convicted.
AAA board member Jim Cantey says the Report A Drunk Driver program is meant as a deterrent.
“We are not as interested in catching drunk drivers as we are in creating an environment that will be make anyone who has had too much to drink consider that when they get behind the wheel, any driver on the road can report them to law enforcement,” Cantey says.
South Carolina ranks third highest in the nation for drunk driving deaths per vehicle miles traveled.
Columbia Police Chief Ruben Santiago says there have not been any traffic fatalities tied to DUI in Columbia so far this year, but he says there were seven such deaths last year.
“We have a lot of tourism here. We have a lot of people coming here to do business. And we want those individuals to feel safe,” Santiago says
“And, you know, even when you're visiting our hospitality areas, we just want people to be responsible. When you look at the numbers and you look at the amount of incidents in South Carolina in general, they're alarming.”
To participate in the program, you can call 911 and give details about someone you suspect is driving while intoxicated.
The call will be coded specifically as part of the Report A Drunk Driver program, and tipsters will get $100 if the suspected person ends up being convicted.