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Texting symbols enhance safe driving publicity campaign

A picture can be worth a thousand words, and the South Carolina Highway Patrol has turned to popular text-messaging symbols known as emojis to drive home messages about safe driving. For example, one sign that drivers will see throughout the state depicts a picture of a beer plus a green car along with an equal sign that leads to a police car.

Authorities expect that these simple pictorial messages will reach beyond language barriers. A corporal with the SCHP said that the images make people want to figure out their meanings. People are familiar seeing emojis in tweets, and they will know that they mean something.

The safety campaign emerged from the actions of another state trooper who started using emojis in his tweets about safe driving tips. Many retweets resulted, which suggested that people were understanding and sharing the messages. Some of these tweets achieved a viral exposure of 6,000 shares. The SCHP believes that safety education will save lives. The corporal pointed out that most traffic deaths in the state arise from drunk driving, texting and driving, speeding and not wearing seat belts.

Although law enforcement have made the prevention of these behaviors a high priority, there will still be people who are taken into custody and charged with drunk driving. As the penalties that could be imposed if a conviction is obtained are severe, a person in this position may find it advisable to obtain the assistance of an attorney in order to contest the charges. One possible way to do so would be to challenge the traffic stop as being made without probable cause.

Source: WSPA, "SC Highway Patrol Using Emojis to Prevent Drunk Driving", Addie Hampton, June 2, 2016

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