Troopers go 'undercover' to take on texting and driving

South Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers are going undercover to reduce texting while driving. (Taggart Houck/WPDE)

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and that means interstates and highways across Horry County will be busy.

Trends suggest busy roads could also lead to high cell phone use, and for some that might be while driving.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety launched an anti-texting initiative Monday aimed at reducing texting or typing while driving.

"When you take your eye off the road just in a 55 mile per hour speed limit and you try to compose a text, it's like driving the length of a football field while being blinded," said Highway Patrol Colonel Christopher Williamson.

That is, in part, why state law bans any form of typing on a phone while driving. The new plan, sparked by the holiday season, requires officers predominately searching for texters to ride together--one drives, another looks for texting.

Together, they drive in unmarked cars. It adds to the element of surprise.

"We want you to think about this at all times, and change that behavior," said Williamson. "That's what any enforcement is about."

Our crews took a ride with Trooper Sonny Collins this morning. Several calls came over the scanner for similar stops in just over an hour.

"Just a matter of a second in taking your eyes off the roadway could lead to a collision and could lead to you injuring and killing yourself or lead to you injuring or killing someone else," said Williamson.

The plan is active across the state, mostly in four metropolitan areas--Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Columbia and Greenville.

An increased number of troopers will stay undercover until at least Sunday. According to Highway Patrol officials, that's when the roads will start to return to normal traffic.

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