SCHP uses emojis to get anti-drunken driving message across

SCHP uses emojis to get anti-drunken driving message across

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - For years, the South Carolina Highway Patrol has been telling people not to drink and drive.

Now troopers are using a new language to spread the message. They've started a public safety campaign with emojis that you'll start to see around the state.

For people who don't have smartphones, emojis are little symbols users can use in digital messages instead of words.

One of the billboards is posted off Broad River Road promoting the Sober or Slammer campaign. It shows the icons of "drinking," "plus," "driving," "equals," "police car."

"My problem in school was I always tried to think of the funny way to get a message across instead of paying attention like I should," Trooper Bob Beres said.

About a year ago that so-called problem led Beres to the creative solution in sharing about public safety.

"Our goal is target zero, we don't want another fatality today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. So I said, 'What can we do to get the message across," Beres said.

People aren't only receiving his messages. They're sharing them. The trooper of 23 years has more than 7,000 followers. His tweets are often retweeted hundreds of times.

"People that follow me on Twitter, I'm just excited that they follow me," Beres said. "I'm just a regular trooper trying to make a difference."

The Sober or Slammer emoji is just one of four messages you'll see throughout the state. The Highway Patrol will use the icons to address texting and driving, speeding and buckling up as well.

Trooper Beres says in addition to billboards you'll see the images at gas pumps, convenience store ice boxes, and athletic tickets.

"My mother, who barely speaks English, she's Hungarian, I showed her the emoji and she got it right off the bat, so I knew this is something that might work," Beres said.

"I'm very thankful that the department believed in it," Beres said.

And now beyond believing in it, they're banking on it spreading important messages and saving lives.

Copyright 2016 WIS. All rights reserved.