on November 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Clemson receives award for traffic safety

CLEMSON — Clemson has received recognition in many areas through the years — including its quality of life, transit service and town-gown relationship with Clemson University.

Another area involves traffic safety, and Thursday marked the second time in three years the city was honored in that area. Clemson was named one of 12 communities throughout South Carolina to possess outstanding leadership in traffic safety and received a plaque from the Automobile Association of America Carolina’s Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes policing initiatives in North and South Carolina. Clemson Police Chief Jimmy Dixon said he first received notification several weeks ago through a representative of AAA Carolinas.

“They asked about our traffic enforcement and what we do as far as education and things of that nature,” Dixon said, adding that the representative promised to get back in touch with him at some point.

Shortly thereafter, Dixon was contacted again and, this time, learned that Clemson was among three cities to win the award in the 10,000 to 30,000 population range. This marked the second time in the past three years — the first being 2006 — that the city had received the award.

“AAA Carolinas is North Carolina and South Carolina-based organization and conducts traffic studies in various cities in both states, comparing traffic collisions, traffic fatalities compared to various populations and various types of enforcement that take place in those cities,” he said.

The chief said Clemson not only features day-to-day residential traffic, but also cut-through traffic since many travelers work in Oconee, Anderson and Greenville counties, as well as Clemson University students. As if that wasn’t enough, more than 80,000 fans travel to the city during each of Clemson’s seven home football games during the fall.

“We have a major influx of traffic in the city year-round,” Dixon said.

Despite the high traffic volume, Dixon said the city does not have a traffic enforcement unit. Instead, he said it is the responsibility of each officer, and that public works provides a tremendous assistance by installing and maintaining signage.

Dixon also credited Clemson University students who choose to use Clemson Area Transit and other modes of transportation rather than get behind the wheel of a car when intoxicated.

“I think the students themselves need to be praised for their assistance in getting this award,” he said.

Clemson Mayor Larry Abernathy said he wasn’t surprised to see the city once again receive the honor.

“To me, this award recognizes the experience that we have with our law enforcement in the city of Clemson,” Abernathy said. “Our city engineer and public safety groups also work really, really hard to make sure the city is the safest it can be. So, I think this award reflects the experience we’ve come to expect from our departments as well as our excellent department heads.”

So far this year, Dixon said his department has recorded zero traffic accidents. The last traffic fatality to occur in the city took place Nov. 17, 2007 when a young man was ejected from the back of a pickup truck immediately following the Clemson-Boston College football game. Police said alcohol played a factor in that fatality.