Community Action for a Safer Tomorrow

CAST Lexington DUI Task Force

About CAST

Lexington County was one of 14 counties in SC selected to receive CAST funding to address 1 of 2 priority areas: Underage Drinking and/or DUI.

Lexington was selected as a DUI site based on the high number of DUI crashes in the county (From 2007 – 2009, there were a total of 1079 DUI crashes, including 83 fatalities).

Recognizing that prevention is a community effort, a task force with representatives from various sectors of the community convened to assess what factors contribute to the high rate of DUI crashes and how these risk factors can be effectively addressed.

Community Assessment

Research began in November 2010 with the establishment of a Needs Assessment Committee.  This committee conducted a full county needs assessment to determine why DUI is a problem in Lexington County.  Research methods included surveys, focus groups, and key informant interviews of various community leaders.  Results revealed the following risk factors contributing to high DUI crash rates in the county:

Key Risk Factors

1.Residents have a low level of perception of risk of getting caught for DUI
2.There is a high level of over-service to intoxicated patrons at area bars and restaurants
3.The level of DUI enforcement needed to be increased

Taking Action

Implementation of prevention strategies began in October of 2011.  DUI enforcement coupled with media designed to increase the perception of risk of getting caught for DUI has been the primary focus of implementation, along with addressing over-service to intoxicated patrons.  (NOTE: The following strategies are designed to address the research findings listed on the previous page.)

Increasing Perception of Risk

Efforts through a variety of media outlets (broadcast, billboard, print) aimed at increasing the perception of getting arrested for impaired driving in Lexington County.  Media included broadcast news stories, newspaper advertisements, a video PSA, a mobile phone app advertisement, and digital billboards.

Decreasing Over-Service to Patrons at Bars and Restaurants

The task force implemented a plan to work proactively with establishments helping managers and servers understand their responsibility to their patrons.  Toolkits were introduced to the community through a press conference with the Lexington County Sherriff’s Department.

Increasing DUI Enforcement

A total of 22 public safety checkpoints and 27 saturation patrol operations have been conducted since October 2011, with a heavy emphasis on September through December of 2012.  As a result of these operations, a total of 1423 traffic tickets were written, 1585 warnings, and 162 arrests were made.

Outcomes

Enforcement and Perception of Risk

Implementation of increased enforcement and media took place in 2012.  The graph below shows the number of crashes in 2012 compared to 2011.  2012 shows an overall trend of decreasing crashes compared to 2011 which showed a trend of increasing crashes.  During the months of 2012 with heightened enforcment and media surrounding the enforcment of DUI, results show a a sharp decrease in the number of DUI crashes.  This outcome suggests that enforcment and media aimed at increasing the perception of a driver being caught for DUI in the county has a nearly immediate effect on drivers’ deciding not to drive while intoxicated.

Over-Service

When the Toolkits were introduced to area bars and restaurants, the county saw a notable decrease in offenders reporting their last drink location as being a bar or restaurant.  This outcome suggests that working proactively to help servers identify intoxicated patrons and to curb over service has a direct impact on drivers leaving these establishments intoxicated.

Notable decreases in over service that coincide with toolkit implementation.

What’s Next?

Because of the positive results of the strategies implemented thus far, the task force plans to continue to increase DUI enforcement, media around enforcement, and continue to use innovative strategies to address over-service to intoxicated patrons such as the Responsibility Toolkits.

Drivers in Lexington County should be aware that heightened enforcement efforts during summer months will continue to focus on making the roads of Lexington County safer through prevention and enforcement of impaired driving laws.

For more information, please contact Allison Atkins

(803) 726-9457 or aatkins@lradac.org