SC troopers warns against drunk drivers with new emoji ad

A snapshot from SCDPS’ ‘Sober or Slammer!’ PSA shows the department’s use of emojis.
A snapshot from SCDPS’ ‘Sober or Slammer!’ PSA shows the department’s use of emojis.

Law enforcement unveiled a new public safety announcement based off of emojis – cartoon images often used in texting and social media posts –for its latest campaign taking on drinking and driving leading up to the typically busy Labor Day weekend.

The PSA stars Highway Patrol Sgt. Bob Beres, also known as Trooper Bob on twitter where he is prolific in using emojis, pulling over two men driving an emoji car who have had too much alcohol to drive.

“There’s nothing cool about DUI,” Beres said in the PSA.

The PSA is part of the state’s “Sober or Slammer!” campaign running Friday through Sept. 5, which aims to reduce alcohol- and drug-related crashes. The campaign mixes increased DUI advertising with heightened enforcement to reduce DUI-related deaths.

The use of emojis is nothing new to the S.C. Department of Public Safety, as they have already put out billboards across the state earlier this summer to crack down on drunken driving.

Officials said they are taking this new approach to tackle the serious and deadly crime of DUIs.

“The use of emojis has taken our safety messages from a virtual world to a broader audience,” said Highway Patrol Col. Mike Oliver. “This concept has put us in touch with an important – and sometimes difficult-to-reach – segment of the population: younger drivers.”

So far this summer, road deaths are down 14 percent compared to this time last year, with 199 deaths compared to 231 in 2015.

Since January, 582 people have died in highway fatalities compared to 601 this time last year.

SCDPS Director Leroy Smith said from 2009-2013, the state saw a 9.1 percent drop in alcohol-impaired fatalities, but they want to see that number drop even more.

“Our goal is zero impaired driving fatalities, and that means we have to be creative in getting the public’s attention about this deadly driving behavior,” Smith said.

Safe driving

Anyone who sees motorists they believe rare driving impaired can call S.C. Highway Patrol by dialing *HP or *47. Signs of impaired driving including driving erratically, weaving in and out of lanes, driving too fast or slow, crossing the center line or drifting off the roadway.