Memorial Day Seatbelt Safety Campaign Underway

MP900442392-300x168South Carolina Focuses on Seatbelt Safety this Memorial Day with Seatbelt Safety Enforcement

Memorial Day kicks off summer – the kids are out of school, pools are open, and backyard barbecue weather is back. For law enforcement officers, however, Memorial Day weekend is the start of the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” when more people than ever travel, and the rate of highway accidents skyrockets. That’s why, this Memorial Day Weekend, South Carolina law enforcement agencies are focusing on seatbelt safety.

“It’s that 100 days when we initially kick off the beginning of summer, and we’ve seen in recent years a spike in fatalities because of more traffic, people vacationing, kids out of school,” said Lance Cpl. Judd Jones with the S.C. Highway Patrol.

AAA Carolinas estimates that more than 443,000 motorists will be on South Carolina’s roads and highways just this weekend, to see family and enjoy holiday festivities.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol recently kicked off their Buckle-Up South Carolina campaign, which focuses on seatbelt safety, especially while driving at night.

“While more people are buckling up during the day, far too many choose to disobey the law at night when the risk of getting into a fatal collision actually rises,” said Leroy Smith, director of the state Department of Public Safety. “The simple act of buckling up could save hundreds of lives each year. We want to bring a focus on this deadly trend, especially going into summer when travel on our roads will increase.”

“[Drivers] wear their seat belt in the daytime cause they know we’re out there looking, it’s easier for us to see,” said Lance Corporal Brent Kelly with SCHP. “But at nighttime they don’t want to wear it, but that’s when your risk goes up.  We want to let everybody know just because it’s at night and we can’t see, you’re still increasing your chances of losing your life in a crash.”

According to the SCHP, no seatbelts or helmets were used in almost all of the deaths reported during Memorial Day weekends for the last two years. In 2011, between Friday at 6 PM and Monday at midnight, 8 people died in automotive accidents of some kind. Five were car crashes, in which the drivers or passengers were not following seatbelt safety; two were motorcyclists, who were not wearing helmets. One of the deaths was a pedestrian.

However, there has been an annual decrease in the number of deaths over Memorial Day Weekend. As of midnight on May 22nd, SCHP reports that there have been 242 traffic-related fatalities, which is 91 less than last year.

While also focusing on seatbelt safety, SCHP says it will be very vigilant for drunk drivers. If you are pulled over this weekend, expect officers to be thorough in inspecting for intoxicated drivers, seatbelt safety, and other traffic violations.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol kicks off its traffic and seatbelt safety campaign, Buckle-Up South Carolina, tonight, May 24th.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Seatbelt Safety and DUI Charges This Memorial Day

If you or a loved one have been pulled over due to a traffic violation, such as improper seatbelt safety, distracted driving, or DUI, you do not have to face the charges alone. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the complexities of traffic safety regulations in South Carolina, and can help you fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation. 803.252.4800.

Teen Texting and Driving Related to Other Driving Risks

Texting and Driving on the Rise, Teens Who Text Take Other Dangerous Driving Risks

A new federal study finds that your teen is more likely to engage in other dangerous driving behaviors if they engage in texting and driving.

According to the report, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 45% of all students 16 years old or older in 2011 admitted that they had texted or emailed while driving in the 30 days prior to being asked.

The CDC found that teens who participating in texting and driving were five times more likely to drive after consuming alcohol, compared to teenagers who did not text and drive. Teens who committing texting and driving offenses were also much less likely to wear their seatbelts – they were up to 40% more likely to forget to put on their seat belt than their counterparts.

According to CDC Director Thomas Frieden, it is no surprise that teens that text and drive are more likely to take other risks.

“But the big picture is that the greatest single risk to teenagers in this country is getting hurt or killed in a motor vehicle crash; that’s the most likely thing to result in their death,” he says. “And texting while driving makes teen driving even more dangerous.”

The practice, he adds, “may be associated with some of the slowing or even reversal of very encouraging declines we had seen until the last year” in the number of teen fatalities, indicated by preliminary 2012 statistics, which show a disturbing rise in fatalities.

A similar study, presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in Washington, DC, researchers reported that teens who participate in texting and driving are more likely to binge drink (5 or more drinks), use tobacco products, use pot, and have unsafe sex.

“In short, teens who (text while driving) engage in a multitude of other risky behaviors,” says Andrew Adesman, senior investigator of that report and chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York.

The CDC’s 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which looked at trends in 15,000 high school students nationally, was the first such study to ask about texting and driving.

The study found that banning texting and driving did little to prevent the practice with teenagers – 39% of teens in states that banned the practice reported that they texted while driving anyway, compared to 44% of teens who texted and drove in states with no bans.

However, the trend with teenagers seems to be in step with drivers of all ages. The CDC reported that 31% of US drivers, between 18 and 64, reported that they had sent a text or an email while driving at least once within 30 days of being surveyed.

AT&T conducted an independent survey and found that 49% of adult drivers admitted to texting and driving, along with 43% of teenagers.

The example that parents set can’t be underestimated, says CDC’s Frieden: “Parents have to lead by example. If you drive fast, if you drink and drive, if you text and drive, then your kids learn that that’s acceptable behavior, and it is not.

“Multitasking may be fine if you’re sitting at your desk, but not when you’re driving a car,” Frieden adds. “Things can go so badly so quickly. That’s what I think teens don’t recognize. Deep down, most teens think they are invincible, but you can go from a perfectly normal situation to heading into a truck or off a bridge or into a tree within a second or two, far less than the time it takes to reach down and type ‘LOL’ on a text message.”

Automobile Accident Attorneys Prosecute Texting and Driving in South Carolina

The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm take road safety very seriously. If you have been in an automobile accident, you could face life-long medical bills, raised insurance rates, and property damage. If you were not at fault for the accident, you could feel alone facing serious financial difficulty. The Strom Law Firm can help. If you have been injured by a driver who was texting and driving, and caused the accident, you do not have to suffer in silence. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation. 803.252.4800.