Law enforcement to reduce summer accident-related fatalities

Posted on May 25, 2010
The South Carolina Highway Patrol and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources are teaming up to keep South Carolina's roadways and waterways safer this summer.

The stretch of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is often referred to as the "100 Deadly Days of Summer" due to the high number of accident-related fatalities that occur during the summer season. 281 people died on South Carolina roadways last summer, 117 of which because they were not wearing a seat belt.

In response, the South Carolina Highway Patrol is trying to increase awareness of driving risks and enforce driver safety by boosting both their "Highways or Dieways" and "Buckle-up" campaigns. Residents will see an increase in public service announcements on television and 100 additional billboards along state highways regarding traffic safety during Memorial Day weekend, July 4th, and Labor Day weekend.

Summers are more deadly because of the increase of tourist and in-state travel. There are more drivers on the road including many tourists who are unfamiliar with South Carolina's roadways and waterways. Driver impairment for both motor vehicle operators and those out on boats also goes up. Last year, driving under the influence arrests rose by nearly 3,000 in number. Highway Patrol also issued 11,000 seat belt violations which explains this year's focus on enforcing DUI and seat belt laws.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be looking after the state waterways, watching out for reckless drivers who speed or drive while intoxicated. Boating deaths this year have already surpassed the total number of boating accident-related deaths that occurred last year. As of May 21st, 15 people have died in South Carolina in boating accidents, compared to 11 total in 2009. DNR believes the higher concentration of boats and people in the same amount of water is largely to blame.

The major causes of death and collision, such as driving under the influence, speeding, and not wearing a seat belt or life vest while in the water are primarily under the individual's control. Highway Patrol and the Department of Natural Resources hopes to remind locals and tourists to drive and ride safely this summer. With the upcoming Bike Fest, the usual Memorial Day traffic and a new Myrtle Beach festival this weekend, Horry County residents can expect to see extra troopers on the roadways to enforce the law and see that South Carolinians stay safe.