MOUNT PLEASANT — Some commuters may disagree, but this town is South Carolina’s best large municipality when it comes to traffic safety, according to the AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Mount Pleasant already had been recognized by AAA as a Traffic Safe Community for nine out of the past 10 years; for five of those, it also won the top prize. It was honored again after Town Council passed a no texting while driving ordinance.
That ordinance took effect a few months ago, though police still have not written the first warning citation. However, police have visited schools to talk to teenage drivers about the dangers of texting while driving, and the town soon plans a public service campaign to spread the word.
Police inspector Chris Helms said Chief Carl Ritchie has spoken extensively with officers about this, adding, “We will enforce this ordinance when we have probable cause to believe that this crime has been committed.”
AAA has been among the loudest voices urging state lawmakers to ban texting while driving, a cry that has not been heard in Columbia. Foundation President Angela Vogel Daley said, “AAA Carolinas’ goal is to create a culture change among teens concerning texting while driving.”
Mount Pleasant also captured the top prize for a program that educates bartenders and waiters on how to prevent their customers from becoming intoxicated.
Newberry won the top award for cities between 10,000 and 30,000 residents, while Iva captured the award from small towns. Located in Anderson County, the town won for its safety fairs at town events and its safety and speed checks.
The foundation also honored a dozen other South Carolina cities and towns, based on a statistical analysis of crashes, police per capita and traffic safety programs. These winners included Goose Creek, Sumter, Summerville, Rock Hill, Port Royal, Hanahan, Mauldin, Simpsonville, Lynchburg, Isle of Palms, Elloree and Lake View.
Only two communities have been in the top five for their population category every year — Newberry and Goose Creek.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.